Defending the Commander Social Contract

Category: Alexckszeto (Page 1 of 2)

Dollar General – a #1DH Primer

Commander Where Each Card Must be a Buck or Less

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When We Took Apart EDH Decks

Hey!!!! Decks get stale or we butcher them for parts so we rip them in shreds and leave sad piles of cards all over the desk. BUT WHYYYYY? Here’s some thoughts from team members about decks they’ve taken apart and why. Maybe you’ll find some sweet tech to copy?!?

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EDHrec is Not Ruining EDH

My fellow GDC writer James argued on Friday that “EDHRec is Ruining EDH,” explains his personal view of EDHRec as an agent that stifles creativity in EDH. (Editor’s Note: People read it, thanks to shares from the community! And some people disagreed with James.) I am here to offer the rebuttal that EDHRec is simply a recommendation that players utilize for deck building, a tool that can be used creatively or not.

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Two Takes on Tiny Leaders: Revisited

Alex: It’s been nearly two years since Dave & I wrote an article about Tiny Leader bursting into our hearts and mind. A lot has happened in two years since the inception, can you give our readers a quick recap of what Tiny Leader is?

Dave: Tiny Leaders WAS (I Guess for some people still is) this variant format of our favorite Magic variant format, EDH. Basically the same deckbuilding rules and restrictions applie, except no card can cost more than three mana mana, you start with 25 life, and decks are 50 cards instead of 100 (like 49 plus a general).

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FLASHBACK – Double Down: Lands Gone Wild

“I attack with my general and activate my Cabal Coffers to make 16 black mana, put it into my Kessig Wolf Run and kill you with general damage” – Prossh player

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on August 20, 2014. We’re flashing back to some of our best from the past several years every Friday, because what’s old is new again. Lands are always worth giving a second look in EDH, and every set makes that even more true. Here’s how to keep the tierra down in the dirt.

Only three non-basic lands are banned in Commander: Library of Alexandria, Karakas, and Tolarian Academy out of the possible 482 non-basic lands ever printed. Outside of the color identity rules in commander, the availability of non-basic lands means options are abundant.

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Switcheroo – That’s No Moon


Switcheroo: That’s No Moon

Greetings, fellow Commander players! Welcome back to Switcheroo, the only Commander column that recommends drinking seven glasses of card draw per day. Today, we take a look at the newly released Eldritch Moon and the plentiful cards available for your next Commander decks.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATED!!! If you are attending GenCon 2016 in Indianapolis, come join fellow GDCers like myself (@Alexckszeto), Mr. P (@thingsMrPthinks), and former GDC (and current writer Erik Tiernan (@Erik_Tiernan). We will be chatting all week on Twitter, so follow us, send us a tweet and stay in touch.  Let’s play some socially-friendly games of Commander, sing the praises of the social contract, and grab some tacos from the food truck! Can’t wait to see you all there.

If you are not familiar with Switcheroo columns, I am here to help with your deckbuilding dilemmas. Here are the low-downs: I will highlight a particular card from Magic’s history, and see how a recently-printed card either replicates – or often supersedes – the original. Every card highlighted on Switcheroo is friendly on the wallet and can easily found at your local gaming store or online retailer.

First up – Why it’s important to check your credit report, health care costs in Innistrad and mono white tutors on Switcheroo.




Identity Thief: Monitor Your Credit Report Regularly

With every new set, I am giddy with new variants of Clone, because I love Clone effects and always wanted to build a dedicated clone deck.  Identity Thief takes the cake as one of most unique clone spells in its flavor and application. At first glance, Identity Thief reminded me of Cryptoplasm; Both are similar mechanically, allowing you to copy a different creature each turn that suites your needs. Unlike Cryptoplasm, Identity Thief has one of my favorite triggers ever printed written in Magic –  the “Whenever this creature attacks” trigger. I am a sucker for attacking triggers in Magic because I enjoy the interaction of combat with my opponents. Hopefully this trend will extend further into blue’s color identity in future sets.

In addition, Identity Thief has the ability to exile a creature and return it back to the battlefield later on; simply removing an opponent’s creature from blocking, getting rid of auras and equipment attached on a creature or retriggering your own “Enter the Battlefield” creatures is a powerful effect indeed. All in all, this card has all the abilities that I love stapled in a creature type that I adore and will build around in the near future.

Now for the part of Identity Thief that is terrifying and can ruin your life . According to, approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totalling upwards of $50 billion. Be vigilant with your private financial information and if you suspect your information has been stolen, please contact your financial institutions and police right away. Your money is better protected and can be spent on more Magic cards.


Thalia’s Lancer: Something old, Something New

Quiz time – when was the last card printed in mono white that allows you to search for the following cards: Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile, Darien, King of Kjeldor, or a Gerrard Capashen?

Answer: NEVER

Thalia’s Lancer is the first – the expansion of white’s color pie taken from the same concept of an existing Green sorcery Time of Need. There is a lot to like about Thalia’s Lancer, but mainly it’s the ability to search for any legendary card in your deck. It is a great addition for a mono white commander deck, because it rewards you for deckbuilding – by considering how many legendaries are in your deck in a color that normally lacks reliable ways to search your library for creature cards. I am not sure how many legendary permanents you need to justify putting in Thalia’s Lancer into a deck. My guess is around three to four creatures and maybe one to three legendary lands or artifacts/enchantments combined – in total, five to seven targets for the Lancers. At a mana cost of five, Thalia’s Lancer might be steep, but a tutor attached to a body is extremely hard to find in mono white’s color pie.


Geier Reach Sanitarium: Helvault Insurance Provider Broke Out

Here is another question – what would the insurance premiums be like for citizens of Innistrad? People living there face the normalities of every-day life like diseases or ailments, while adding on the reality of grim and terrifying predators such as werewolves, vampires, a frog monster…and don’t forget the Eldrazi.  All things that seem to dwindle down the average life expectancy rate.

Worry not; all are welcome at the Geier Reach Sanitarium. Taking a look from afar, Geier Reach Sanitarium is an innocuous effect, allowing each player to draw a card and then discard.  The “loot” effect is the same as a Lore Broker. But what I like about Geier Reach Sanitarium is the low opportunity cost to play this card; it’s a colorless non-basic land that can be played in any commander deck. Most Commander decks plays with 36 to 42 lands in their deck, and this card’s utility outweighs the lack of colored mana fixing.  Go ahead and slot it in.

Geier Reach Sanitarium can be slotted in a lot of different commander decks that don’t have this type of a drawing and discarding effect. Discarding cards from your hand can be rather useful for the decks that want to take advantage their own (or their opponent’s) graveyards.

Some players may not like giving card selections to their opponents, but that’s just the price they have to pay for healthcare in Innistrad.

Let’s Bring this Article to a Screeching Halt

What are your favorite gems from the Eldritch Moon? Will Pokemon Go take over this year’s GenCon? What insurance company would you go with on Innistrad (Would Sorin take payment in blood)? I would love to hear your comments and feedback below or via Twitter or find GDC via Facebook.

Thanks again for @ryansainio for all the excellent graphics provided in this article.

Until next time – lets chat Magic.


Switcheroo – What New Sights and Adventures Await Us?


Welcome back to Switcheroo!  Now that the Eldrazi menace in Zendikar has subsided, what new far away lands and adventures does our diverse cast of planeswalker protagonists visit next? What new quests and adventures must our heroes face in defence for the common good in the multiverse?


We’re going back to where?!?!?

Didn’t we just revisit a plane that Magic players have been clamoring for the past couple of years?

Switcheroo: What New Sights and Adventures Await Us.

Switcheroo: Return to Innistrad 

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Switcheroo – Hail to Our New Eldrazi Overlords!


Welcome back to Switcheroo. If you have been following the competitive Magic circuit for the past couple of months, Eldrazi decks have been dominating the format. Now, Eldrazis are not new to the Commander format; when a player slams down an Eldrazi here, it’s still an impressive feat in size and scope. It draws attention from your fellow players due to the sheer massive qualities that the Eldrazis exhibit.

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Double Down – One If By Land, Two If By Sea


“The most powerful card in magic is an Island” – Wise Magic Player

Happy Battle for Zendikar spoiler season, GDC readers!

Before we get to today’s article. I want to welcome James D and Jon Pflug to theTeam GDC writing staff. Both James and Jon have been writing excellent Commander articles, sharing their deck ideas and reexamining the fabrics of the social contract, and I can’t wait to read their upcoming articles – please stay tuned and check out what thet have to say about the best format in Magic.

Now, to get back to business, the discussion today is about a very special Merfolk from Battle of Zendikar that empowers lands.

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Swicheroo: Magic Origins

Welcome back to Switcheroo. For many new players entering Commander, finding cards can be exhilarating and daunting. With the massive catalog of cards available to our format, it can be difficult for even experienced players to choose which specific cards will fill the ninety nine slots in their Commander decks. Switcheroo is here to help with deckbuilding dilemmas just like this.


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