Defending the Commander Social Contract

Author: Erik Tiernan (Page 1 of 6)

The Cromat Challenge

This article was inspired by Andrew Magrini’s Cromat Experiment. In case you don’t  follow the link, the challenge is to build five enemy color decks using each color pair. The trick is to make the effects align with the five abilities Cromat has. I love odd deck building challenges, so this immediately caught my eye. Also, I really like building enemy color decks.  

Since Cromat is a fairly janky card here are the abilities:

WB: Destroy target creature blocking or blocked by Cromat.

UR: Cromat gains flying.

BG: Regenerate Cromat.

RW: Cromat gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

GU: Put Cromat on top of its owner’s library.

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Tribes that Could Have Been

I want to clear the air. I am really enjoying the new precon decks. At the time of writing this I’m planning more precon games with my friends and I’m debating which ones to take apart, which to rebuild from scratch, and which ones to upgrade from the base model. That being said, I think the choices of tribes were really bland and remarkably unexciting.


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Talking Strategy- Lessons from OmarCon


Welcome back to Convention Recap Week!  Although Erik was not able to make it to GenCon this year, he did attend the first OmarCon in NYC.  Here’s what he had to say about it.

If you haven’t seen Bruce’s article about the meetup for Omar hosted in NY recently, then check out his article here. Thank you Omar!

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CC with ET – Spawning Breath

Welcome to Commander Comments where we pay homage to Aaron Forsythe’s Random Card of the Day. Since I can’t talk about R&D, here’s the deal. I click ʺrandomʺ on the Gatherer and talk about the potential uses in our beloved format. Time to move away from the staples and get some creative juices flowing. Ready?

Today’s Card is Spawning Breath. Oh boy – this random EDH thing is getting harder.

The good news is that it’s an instant. If you are really trying to have the redundancy  of needing more mana for turn 3, I guess this can help. But this card is extremely underwhelming. If loads of utility creatures with one toughness are lurking in your meta, then I suppose this may have a place. But I’d prefer Gut Shot or Geist Flame – or even better, Arc Lightning and Arc Trail.

So how does this little token maker help? When you are going deep into sacrifice effects. Many decks with Grave Pact will add Blood Pet, and using the eldrazi spawn and scion producers is often better. They may not be as mana efficient, but they make mana on their deaths. They can also have more impact with global pump spells since many spells will produce multiple little eldrazi.

Try it out, and see if the explosive potential is worth it.

Archetype Analysis: Big Stealy

Welcome to another installation of Archetype Analysis. Today, I’m tackling decks for players who can’t keep their grubby little fingers to themselves – the ‘Big Stealy’ decks. The biggest appeal for most players is that theft effects are along the axis of judo decks, which are very interactive decks. Also, you get a lot of value out of your cards.

Just remember to include some ways to win without your opponent’s stuff, okay?

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Taking On A Mono White Challenge

Information in Commander is one of the greatest resources we have. When new cards are spoiled, players take off to build around them in optimal ways. With new cards like The Locust God and The Scorpion God, this can be exciting as the community sifts through endless cards to find the best fits.

But what about some old rusting cards that have been neglected over time?

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CC With ET – Mishra’s Factory

Today’s card is Mishra’s Factory. Heck yeah! I love this card.

Players rave about the value of adding Mutavault to a deck with equipment and pump effects. No doubts there, but Mishra’s Factory does basically everything for like 10% of the price. Value! Also if you use Thespian’s Stage and Vesuva, you can pump up your Assembly-Worker creatures. Thanks to Kaladesh, we actually have some worth playing.

Mishra’s Factory is the little Mutavault that could; it dodges most sweepers, it makes mana, it animates for cheap, and it will untap itself if you give it Sword of Feast and Famine. Equipment will fall off the critterlands, but if you connect with a sword or Argentum Armor, does it really matter?

Pressuring The Table

Mono-red legendary creatures may have the most open designs in Commander. While red may appear to be linear, it has a ton of potential. There are classic aggressive decks that most players think about, but red also has control, combo, voltron, token, tribal, gimmicks, and even chaos decks. Honestly, red is definitely lacking in some departments – such as scaling creature removal (see the Lightning Bolt Problem) and drawing extra cards. But with artifact support, red has all the bases covered. Even better, red has a lot of natural synergy with artifacts for control, voltron, and combo potential.

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Talking Strategy – Game Tips 101

(Editor’s Note: Apologies for the delay in publishing this week.  We’re experiencing some pretty heavy real-life time requirements on several fronts this week, so we’re a little light.  We’ll make it back up to you next week.


(Editor’s Note, Pt. 2: Welcome to Talking Strategy.  Erik is spearheading this first article in what I think will be a series that we all will add to over time, meant to take a relatively light ‘a la carte’ look at in-game topics and issues, rather than deck construction.  These are things that may be easy concepts, or may be things you’ve never thought much about, but will be easy to pick up ant take with you into your next game.  Hope you enjoy!


Maintaining Defenses

Keeping up defenses is something that isn’t nearly as useful in a duel as it is in multiplayer Magic. Blocking barely happens in 1v1 games because the trade in resources rarely works in favor of the blocker. Commander is different; we have far more chump-block worthy creatures to toss in front of the bus, and even though we get the benefit of a much higher starting life total, there are more threat sources to offset this benefit.  Maintaining proper defenses can keep your life from reaching a precarious total and putting your game at risk.

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Approaches to Deckbuilding: New Player Edition

Welcome to my newest Approaches to Deck Building article. Today, I’m focusing more on players newer to Commander who are struggling with their deck building, or just want a few more tips to get going. Learning to play Commander is tricky, but when it comes down to it, learning to build a deck is even more difficult.

I’ve discussed the “My First EDH” approach here as a teaching tool, and how to get players into the format here. Today is about actually building a deck.

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