Defending the Commander Social Contract

Author: Cassidy (Page 2 of 33)

Flashback Friday: Market Research – The First (Probably More Than) Annual Questions Edition

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on January 11, 2013. We’re flashing back to some of our best from the past several years every Friday, because what’s old is new again. Cass hasn’t been posting much, but we’re all getting hyped for GenCon (in approximately infinity months) so why not pose a bunch of questions to you, per Cass’s “Market RESEARCH”?

The response to the Blightsteel">Blightsteel Colossus question from Monday really threw me for a loop.  I was hoping for some feedback, and I certainly got that and then some.  That’s really fantastic.

It also got me thinking. I enjoy speaking my mind when it comes to EDH (and I have to assume that you all enjoy reading it to some degree), but I’m as guilty as the next guy of falling into the “ivory tower’ syndrome.  I have a pattern of beliefs, and I like to complain loudly when someone steps on my poor little toes.

So, then…the Blightsteel thing.  This is important.

The reason that I posted the questions stems from a conversation I was having with my co-conspirator here at GDC, Patrick.  I’ve been starting to dive in again to the “metagame-breaker” deck theory-crafting that drove my GenCon exploits last year.  I’ve got a two-part article in the works for that will get into very specific details about developing such a deck, what it should expect to face, and how it should be built and played to overcome the gauntlet of an ‘EDH-for-prizes” event.

Long story short, I was trying to figure out how to win with a deck designed to shut down the infinite combos that permeate environments like that without succumbing to the dark side and just playing them myself.  After all, that’s the point – break the broken metagame with a deck that stays true to the core of the “social agreement” at the heart of EDH.

The problem I had last year was that my Riku deck was designed to say, ‘No!”, but it didn’t know what to do from there.

That’s about when I stumbled onto the foil copy of Blightsteel Colossus I had in a box.

I managed pretty quickly to justify One-Shot Robot as a legit win-con.  It was a creature, and it still had to attack in order to defeat an opponent.  The specs of the card just meant that it probably only needed to attack once.  But really, how different is this from swinging with Kresh the Bloodbraided?  Or Moldgraf Monstrosity?  Or Mons’s Goblin Raiders one-hundred or so times in a row?

Patrick called me an ass (in so many words) for playing a card that I’ve professed to hate for so long.  He pointed out that this is essentially joining the dark side anyway.

So I posted the question to you, the dedicated readers of GDC.  In my (thick) head, I still thought I was going to get some justification for doing what I was planning on doing.

That clearly didn’t happen.  Most of you hate the damn thing as much as Patrick, and some of you think it’s worse than combo.  I learned something about you all in the process, and that’s that there’s a whole world out there that I need to learn a little bit more about.

That’s what I think I want to do today.


Below are a series of situations and questions.

What I hope each of you will do is to read through them, and find one (or two or all) that resonates with you somehow.  Head down to the ‘comments’ section, and answer the question.

While you’re there, see what others are saying.  If those thoughts resonate, comment there too.

Patrick and I will be doing our best over the next several days to drop in some replies and engage in some good, solid EDH conversation.  We may drop in some answers for ourselves as well…who knows.

Either way, you know who we are, and we want to see the world out there.  Show us who you are.

1.      Blightsteel Revisited

You know have the context that you didn’t have on Monday.  You’ve sleeved up your blue-base control deck and jumped a flight to Indianapolis, ready to lay waste to the field at the Thursday night EDH Constructed Championship Qualifier.  You’re planning on seeing Hermit Druid combo.  There’s going to be some Temple Bell-Mind Over Matter action.  Someone is going to use Palinchron to make a boatload of mana to hit you with a Stroke of Genius big enough to kill you.

You’re not concerned, because you have answers, but you do need one final, solid win-condition for the deck.  You find the Blightsteel Colossus in your binder.

Knowing that your main plan is to ‘take the high road’ against the combo decks you’ll face, do you play Blightsteel Colossus?

2.      When Is The Game Really Over?

This is an example from this past Wednesday that I’m trying to wrap my head around, if for reason other than I still feel conflicted about my feelings, and the other player is a regular reader and good friend.  I’d love to clear the air and see what the feeling is here.

You’re playing in the regular Wednesday shop game.  Buy-in is five dollars; you get a pack for participation automatically, and play for ‘points’ that determine a pick order at the end of the night.

The prize pool to pick from is an additional pack for every two people (so half of the field will get a second pack), as well as a selection of foil promos; the difference between coming in first for two packs or last for a pack and a promo card is pretty negligible.  It’s a really flat payout to promote fun games.

You’ve killed off another player and amassed five points, enough to guarantee that you’ll  get a second prize pack no matter what happens.  Suddenly, the player across the table cranks out a series of cards that will kill you on the spot.  You can’t save yourself.  He’s about to deal you exact damage, which will net him three points; one for eliminating a player, and two more for doing so with exact lethal damage.

You have a Goblin Bombardment and a creature in play.

Knowing that you’re getting a prize pack no matter what, do you sacrifice your creature to Goblin Bombardment to deal yourself one damage, preventing the player who is about to kill you from getting two extra points for the exact damage kill?

3.      Pick Your Poison

Rank the following cards from best to worst using any criteria you want:

4.      Duck, Duck, Duck…

You sit down at a table to play a game of EDH with four other players.  You’ve never met any of them before in your life, and you have no idea what the actual contents of any of the decks are.  The other four generals are Kaalia of the Vast, Zur the Enchanter, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, and Omnath, Locus of Mana.

You’re the first person to find a creature.  Furthermore, no-one else has a creature in play when you untap on the following turn.  There are no blockers, and you move to your attack step.

Who do you attack? Why?

5.      A Simple Question

When I resolve a kicked Tooth and Nail, I put _____ and _____ into play.

6.      A Loaded Question

The game is winding down.  You have no cards in hand, and one left in your deck.  You untap and draw.  It is Banefire.  You can deal thirty damage with it before you lose the game.  Who do you target?

  1. The slow player who takes fifteen-minute turns every turn.
  2. The player who killed you off first in the last game for no good reason. 
  3. The rules lawyer who openly critiques your plays during the game.
  4. Yourself.

7.      Enough Is Enough

“Goddammit!  If I never see that ever again for as long as I play EDH, it’ll still be too soon!”

What was “that”?

8.   Judge, Jury, And Executioner

As a part of the promotion for the 2013 Commander Pre-Cons, you enter an arm-wrestling competition with Sheldon Menery at one of the release events.  You manage to beat him in a close best-of three match, and the prize is that you get to ‘protect’ any one card ever printed from being on the EDH Banned List.  It can never be banned for the rest of eternity, and if it’s already on the list, it immediately comes off and is legal for play.

Name that card.

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Magic, FaceTime, Coffee, and a Lonely Air Mattress: Trying To Keep It Together When Life Gets Flipped Upside-Down

Everyone loves a happy ending. Good guys win, bad guys lose, the hero gets the girl and rides off into the sunset, and so on and so forth.

This isn’t one of those stories – not yet, anyway. I’m currently stuck somewhere in the middle of act two – the “facing impossible odds and trying to figure out how to fight my way back” part.

Read More

Reinventing The Commander 2015 “Seize Control” Pre-Con, Part 2: It Seemed So Innocent…

“Kill you, you, and you, do 28 damage to you?”

.    .    .    .    .

Read More

Reinventing The Commander 2015 “Seize Control” Pre-Con, Part 1: Now With 100% More Sarcasm!

Just for the hell of it, I’m not going to complain about things this week.

Okay, that’s not totally true.  I’m absolutely going to still do that.  So…yeah.

Let’s try this again from the top.

Read More

This Is What Goes On In The Mind Of A Lunatic (EDH Deckbuilder)

Whoops.  I’ve done it again.

I was trying to hang a picture up in the bathroom, and I must have slipped and hit my head on the edge of the sink.  When I came to, I found I had gotten irritated with the format (or at least my interaction with it as of late) and torn apart all of my decks.  Again.


Read More

Because New Set (Alternate Title: Complaining About New Cards – Shadows Over Innistrad Edition)

I woke up today, hoping desperately that the Commander Rules Committee was going to do something big and sweeping to the Banned List just to shake things up, because nothing gets people talking like a good B&R update, right?

Sadly, it was not to be.  Fortunately, Shadows Over Innistrad hits shelves this coming weekend, and many of you already hit up the prereleases this past one.  As a result, my ‘Grumpy Old Man’ sense is tingling after all.

Let’s do this.

Read More

Building For Better Commander Games: Top-Down versus Bottom-Up Building

Kresh the Bloodbraided has been a pet deck of mine for a very long time.  Other than Sharuum the Hegemon, I think this has been the deck that I’ve built more than any other general out there.  It stands to reason that I’ve also given up on it more times than any other as well, and I finally realized my mistake – one that has likely put me in such a bad place game-wise for so long.

Last week, I took a chance and reversed my design preferences, and promptly won four games back-to-back.  But we’ll come back to this in a bit.

Read More

Grating Expectations

I don’t think I “get” EDH anymore.

Maybe it’s survival of the fittest; ‘adapt or die’ is a real thing in any Magic format – even a casual one like this.  I’m starting to think that something in my head worked its’ way loose somewhere along the way, and is now just hanging disconnected in the clutter up there; while the cool kids are jamming Commander 2015 product to their hearts’ content, I’m busy lamenting poor design choices (ones that everyone else seems to love – Hey there, Experience Counters!) and sadly rebuilding Kresh the Bloodbraided for the eleventh time with roughly 85 of the same cards I used the last time I had this dance.

And then promptly getting wrecked by Ezuri, Claw of Progress and Sage of Hours.  That’s synergy, folks!

Here's what I think of your Meren/Fleshbag Marauder loop.

Here’s what I think of your Meren/Fleshbag Marauder loop.

Read More

…Is this thing on?

Hey there.  Long time no see.  How are things?

It’s been a while since we’ve updated GDC; the last real post was in October.  Quite a bit has happened since then on all fronts, and I’d like to think that things are in a better place all around for all of us.  Sometimes, you just need to get back to the core, and strip away the rest in order to remember who you are and what you want to show the world. 

Read More

We’re Back! (Almost…)

Wow.  Time flies, huh?

So it’s been a while.  Completely my fault.  There’s a team of completely awesome people emailing and chatting and Slack-ing and Tweeting daily to get this thing back on the rails, and there’s not really a good reason why we haven’t done exactly that…other than the fact that I’ve been slacking.

Life, responsibilities, etc…insert usual line here.

The long and the short of it is that we’ve been working on a redesign (this ain’t it, but it’ll do for now), and it’s taking longer than planned.  We’ve been chatting and coordinating content return, and we were aiming to roll 3.0 as a “Grand Reopening!” sort-of thing, and I think we’re all just itching to get going again, so here we are.  I slapped a new coat of paint on this old bird, and we’re going to get back to the content in the next week.

Keep your eyes/Twitter feed peeled for the relaunch.  The gang’s all here, and we’re ready to go.

-The Captain

Page 2 of 33

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén