Thursday, March 31, 2016

I just realized what Commander was all about

I spent the Easter weekend on a gaming convention for the first time in a long good while. It was GothCon in Gothenburg.

My main task was to do an episode of my Isfolket podcast (in Swedish) in front of a live audience. You can find the podcast here:

However, when not doing that, I hung out with Isis Nördfeminism. Isis as in the Egyptian godess Isis, nothing else. This is me showing off my new MagicGatheringStrat swag in the Isis room at GothCon:

My main task among the feminists was to teach MTG to new players. While doing so I accidentally played my first game of Commander (it was my first paper magic game at a convention since I was at Pro Tour LA in 2000). I have played some Commander online but did not catch the bug. Note! I have now caught said bug!

My main problem with Commander was that I am a spike and I want to build decks that try to win. I found the format broken on MTGO but that was not at all the case when playing live in a casual setting.

Now I realized you play Commander because it is an excellent way to have some fun! I played Niv-Mizzet, Prossh, the Mimeoplasm and Trostani. Did I win? That is not the point (OK, I won with Niv-Mizzet) - the point was that I had a ton of fun.

For the first time in fifteen years I got home and looekd at my bookshelf full of Magic cards (all very old). I did sell off the most valuable cards when I quit paper magic for $20,000 in cash but I still have a lot of non-expensive cards left. I figured I could use them for fun some day and now I can.

So how do I build my first Commander deck? I think the best way is to buy one of the premade ones (from 2013 onwards they seem to be available for about $30-40) and then pimp it with some old cards.

So which one should I buy? I naturally looked at Mind Seize, being a Grixis player at heart ... but then I stopped. Am I still trying to win? I do like to be able to interact with threats. I do like to sweep the board. Is it the deck for me? I also looked at the red deck from Commander 2014 (Built from Scratch). Maybe I am looking at the wrong deck?

What Commander deck do you feel I should buy and what cards should I replace with the old stuff I have (Tempest and earlier, I think I have almost any non-expensive card, say below $2).

Give me your opinions below on how to pimp the deck you recommend or how to pimp Built from Scratch or Mind Seize.


  1. Hi Dan,

    Yeah EDH/Commander only makes sense in paper or maybe if you have a set up like commander clash on MTG_Goldfish. It's about having fun with other people. To which end the answer about how to build an EDH deck is that it depends on who your playing with.

    Some play groups love really viscous decks, some play groups just wanna durdle. In some groups eye of the storm/warp world etc make everyone laugh others hate them.

    But otherwise find a general you like and build around it. Remember if you want a deck that will stay in the game you are probably looking for incremental advantage strategies that have general purpose answers. You need a way to deal with graveyards, artefacts and enchantments and often you want a board wipe unless you plan to be the deck that needs to be wiped.

    Generally i think building from scratch is more fun, but that's just me.

    if you are looking for ideas a friend of mine made a EDH deck for every colour combination i don't know if he completed the project but he got close and his blog of it is here

    hope that helps

  2. Full disclosure: I play mono-blue in EDH, so I'm kind of a dick.

    But I feel that if you want to do some crazy and weird things, you should go UG. So the Bant pre-constructed with Derevi and the Sultai one with Mimeoplasm might both be good choices.