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Defending the Commander Social Contract

Author: Imshan Poolar

Flashback! Not-a-Guest Post: Political Cards

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on January 5, 2015. We’re flashing back to some of our best from the past several years every Friday, because what’s old is new again. It’s always worth thinking about how to “play your opponents,” even if you happen to believe that “all politics is really just managing and distorting threat assessment.” So what do you think?

 

Have you ever met a person who wins most of their Commander games? And by ‘most’, I mean they win more than 50% of their games, despite playing at four-person tables, where, given a roughly even distribution of wins among participants they should only win around 25% of the time. Some people chalk this kind of win ratio up to having a more complete collection or having built technically superior decks with stronger win mechanisms. Or, more likely, they’re actually just a blowhard and don’t really win 50% of their games. Perhaps they count “wins” in terms of their personal body count instead of as “technical victories” (which is being the last player standing). Some people even count kingmaking as winning, but there’s no accounting for another’s ambitions.

But, okay, some people DO win most of their games, and they don’t necessarily have superior collections or unflinchingly use ungentlemanly tactics and stratagems. Rather, these players not only know how to play Magic, but also know how to play their opponents.

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Table Politics Part Two – Incentives

It’s all well and good to understand how players’ identify threats. But do you have any chance to influence that process?

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How Do You Contend With A God?

Despite my general loathing for DC Comics, I find one power relationship in the whole of their canon interesting (even if one of the characters is as one-dimensional as they come)-

Superman, and Lex Luthor.

Think about what it means to be Lex Luthor; he has chosen (and let’s face it, he picks this fight) to contend with a being that cannot really be defeated on a regular axis of struggle. In a stand-up fight, Superman simply cannot lose.  But Lex picks that fight anyway, because that’s the kind of world he lives in, and those are the kinds of fights he needs to pick. In a sense, he’s a courageous fellow.

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Next Level tech

Sometimes, when I’m playing with my friends at my dining room table, I get looks for “always having an answer” (even though, like most magic players, I have an answer roughly half the time). [Editor’s note: Welcome back Imshan!!!!!!! We haven’t heard from our swarthiest member in a while. Hope everyone enjoys his wisdom.)

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Oloro, The Giant That Ruined Everything

I hate Oloro, Ageless Ascetic.

I have a bitter loathing for Oloro, and it’s not because I need to deal you two more damage every turn that you live.

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Team GDC Resolutions Part Four: Imshan Resolves a Resolution

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I sometimes find them trite, and really, most people hold on to their resolutions for a month, tops, before falling back in their old habits. I’m the kind of person who lives life as I really want it; if I wanted to do something, I’d do it, and not ‘resolve’ to do it on the occasion of an event.

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