Defending the Commander Social Contract

Category: Erik

CC with ET – Lonely Sandbar

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 “random” 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?

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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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Games that Make You Better at Magic

Welcome to part one of a collaboration Alex and I will be managing over a few articles – discussion about other games that can make you better at Magic: the Gathering. I’ll be going over several games and highlighting how they can improve your skills in this article today, while Alex will delve deeper into a few other games in a future article. He’ll focus on getting more to the nuts and bolts of how these will improve your Magic skills, while I’ll cover the broad range of skills you can learn in other games and which ones are best for Magic.

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Approaches to Deckbuilding

You’re excited to build a new deck. You have some ideas, a couple hidden gems, and the joy in your heart that only deckbuilding provides. But how do you get from your ideas to a fully-built deck?

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Removing and Rebuilding Banned List Pillars

When I wrote my last article, I was aiming to tackle some of the problems in the Commander banned list approach the Rules Committee (RC) uses.

Then, Wizards made a giant change to Commander for MTGO.

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Quick Hits: Banned List, Extort, Culling the Herd, and What Could Have Been

Life has come at me a little faster than usual this week, so I didn’t have time to tackle a full length article; instead, I’m doing a few quick hits to highlight a few things worth talking about:

  • I want to get people thinking about the banned list because next week I plan on tackling the pillars in more detail and discussing how we can free more cards from EDH jail.
  • After some brief banned list banter, I blather about the bothers of extort being more insidious than realized and quite dangerous.
  • I’m culling my herd again and there are cards that really should be legendary.

Dig into these bite sized bits and let me know your thoughts.

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Changing Gears by Changing Focus

Have you ever had a deck that just doesn’t work for some reason? When you go over the decklist, there are no glaring holes; if you break things down into categories like ramp, removal, card advantage (tutors and the like go here), recursion, synergy, and win conditions…it all adds up.

But somehow, when you’re playing the deck, it just repeatedly falls flat. Despite several games, you still cannot figure out what is going wrong.

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The Bystander Effect – And a Vial Smasher Decklist!

The bystander effect is a fascinating and horrifying psychological phenomenon. The bystander effect, or ‘bystander apathy’, is an effect where people are far less likely to offer help to an individual when others are nearby. In crowds and groups, responsibility is diffused across the group; this leads to each individual feeling like someone else is going to offer help or offer better help. The bystander effect can be especially threatening when someone is in danger.

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Earning the Win and Ego Defense

Welcome back! This article is inspired by a conversation I had with my girlfriend Liz, after I lost a game to her. I was playing Kaseto, Orochi Archmage and sneaky snakes; I had a sizable army out, dropped a land (missing my Lotus Cobra trigger), made enough snakes unblockable to attack, pumped the team with Tribal Unity, and blasted past Liz’s defenses.

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