Defending the Commander Social Contract

Category: Haters gonna hate

Tilting Point – My Road to Gen Con 2015

Meta-game breakers – You’ve already seen Cass’s super tuned three-year-labor-of-love, and Sean’s takes on turning the GenCon table running jerks’ plans on their head. When I signed on, sent digital high-fives to team GDC as we planned our amazing trip to Indianapolis for 2015, and realized that meant I needed a deck that did something, I knew two things:

I wanted to play color hate to prey on the weird inbreeding that affects building “good” EDH decks

And I wanted to put dem guys on tilt. Big time.

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Black Sheep: The Road to Gencon ’15

Nine months from my first GenCon and emotions pull me apart. On one side, excitement has me wishing the event came sooner. On the other hand, my to-do list continues to grow along with my anxiety over failing to accomplish my goals.

The event itself should be epic. We all already have the time off and accommodations. Once I buy an airplane ticket, I’ll be completely invested in going with basically nothing to worry about aside from deciding what awesome things to do at the convention. More importantly, I need to decide and build what I will be bringing to play EDH.

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Three Cards Deep 3:06 – July 11, 2014 – It’s Cool to Hate (1)


Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Hate cards and hosers. They tend to have a pretty small place in EDH because tuning for a meta is less common, and you have to have answers that are viable in a range of games against a wider range of cards than in other formats. But I love ’em. Let’s talk hate!

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Black Sheep – Top 10 Reasons WOTC is better than GW


When it comes to gaming relationships, I am a polygamist. My heart contains enough room for miniature gaming, computer gaming, board games, and card games. I won’t lie to you. I do have my favorites. As many of you have correctly guessed, I love Magic. My other love interest is a game called Warhammer 40k. I’ve actually played 40k for longer than I have played Magic. This is partially because 40k has been around longer and partially because the Warhammer 40k universe is fantastic, from a narrative perspective.

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Monday Comes Too Damn Quickly At GDC: Sharuum Wildcard Round Extended! Also – things that drive DJ crazy, and other assorted musings…

Good lord…that came up quick.  Where did the last four days go?

Ah well…welcome to Monday here at GDC, everyone.  Thanks for stopping in.  I’ve got a few things in store for you today, so we’ll see how far this cup of coffee gets me before I pass back out on my keyboard…


Awesome question.  The short answer is that it’s coming on Thursday this week instead of today. 

The longer detailed answer is that I compiled the data and ended up with a spreadsheet containing over four-hundred lines of card suggestions.  This is in addition to a few pages’ worth of tallying results of the various questions and talking points I posed to you all as well.  Fully not expecting that.  Wow.  So I basically need some more time to process here, folks.  (The good news is that both Archer and Walking Dead are finished for the season, so my weeknights have opened up quite a bit…)

The other thing I noted was that there are a few very conspicuous missing replies to the “Wildcard” round posted last week, so I’m keeping it open for another few days.  You know who you are (especially since a few of you told me to expect a post), so we’re all waiting for you here.  No pressure.

I have decided what you should expect, however.  Some of you have actually sent me decklists already, and I’m going to take into account what you all answered to my questions as guidance and attempt to put together a baseline decklist of my own.  It probably won’t be the correct number of cards, and I guarantee it will be rough and disjointed.  I’m also going to make available the card list, suggestions, and answers you submitted.  I’m going to put my list up on the site, and send it back out to you to tune and make the changes that will put us at a finalized list. 

You can submit to me through e-mail, and I’ll provide a deadline.  Once we reach that, I’m going to work through everything and publish the final list, to be immediately followed up with a good test drive and my results and thoughts, and we can put the project to bed once and for all. 

I’ll also be doing some tallying and sending you guys some return e-mails with a bit of a questionnaire.  This is going to help me decide how I’m going to give you all participation prizes.  I’m not totally finalized on the actual prize pool, but there will be foils, alterations, and other goodies. 

And again, if you contributed, you’re on the list. 

So stay tuned for Thursday.  It should be pretty exciting.


Awesome question.  Again, long story short, we’ve decided not to try to run our own event this year.

The active words are absolutely “this year”.  Mr. P and I have spent a good chunk of time brainstorming and putting pen to paper as far as designing a constructed Commander event for GenCon; one that wouldn’t end up like the same old lousy competetive ones that happen all the time at big events.  We bumped into one minor problem that was compounded by another slightly bigger one:

1. Sponsors!

I sent out a request to a few of the bigger Magic vendors, ones that I knew would be present at GenCon, looking for some form of support.  When everything was tallied, we knew we would be into the event for two to three boxes of boosters, and an additional pile of promos and other goodies that would run another few hundred-dollars from there.  My request was to simply ask for any help these vendors could offer at all in exchange for name recognition as the event sponsor.  Any help at all would be appreciated.

Yeah…still haven’t heard back.

Now, this wasn’t a deal killer for us.  We were prepared to come out of pocket to try to help this event grow solid legs, even to the point of funding it entirely.  However…

2. Conflicting Events!

The more I looked into getting responses from the community through various channels on what they wanted to see in an event like this, the more I turned over other organizations that were planning on holding their own events.  I can’t verify one-hundred percent, but there is one relatively local Indy vendor that is claiming to have submitted as many as five constructed EDH events over the weekend, and there was a strong rumor that at least one major vendor is planning another one, in addition to whatever might already exist on the schedule from Wizards. 

That’s pretty near enough time spoken for to fill the prime hours over the entire four-day event, if all of these hold true.  The fear here was that we would invest quite a bit of money up front to make this event happen and either end up getting handed a midnight-6AM slot, or worse yet, be scheduled against a competing local store, with the overall result being five players attending an event designed for ten times that many. 

So we’re backing down this year.  Our plan is to watch the schedules and try to glean as much information as we can on what events actually happen, and how the turnouts are.  We’ll look at the structure, see what works and what doesn’t, and have the better part of a year to come up with a revised plan for running an event at GenCon ’13, and hopefully more opportunities to secure partners that share our goal of making a fun and enjoyable for-prizes EDH event.  So we’re down, but not out.  Hey – the good news is that you’ll have a bunch of EDH events to play in this year if you’re going! 

Thanks do go to everyone who gave me feedback.  Hang tight for now…but we’ll be back.


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to just bitch about things, so I figured I’d do some free-range complaining here.  (Think chicken, but way more surly and far less tasty…)

-I hate mass land-destruction.  Full respect to the new(ish…I know you’ve been in before once or twice) guys at the shop last week, because you guys were very cool, and it’s nice to have a few other older guys around as well.  But our environment has all-but tuned out this sort of thing, and it was a bit of a reaffirmation as to why we did.  After Armageddon hits on about turn six, one of us scoops on the spot.  I spend the rest of the game drawing into a 6-to-1 ratio of business-to-lands, and randomly discarding my hand.  I know anything goes, one person’s fun isn’t necessarily the same as another’s, and so on…but man – I can’t get down with something that ruins a game for half the players. 

-I hate mass-discard.  I watched Mr. P go pale after he was hit with a “Discard X cards” spell of some sort for his whole hand, and I just cringed.  It’s important to note that this is certainly better than losing all of our lands, as he was able to draw back into the game after a while.  But it still sucks to be on the wrong end of that sort of thing, and I just can’t justify it in my head.

Related note: It’s possible that we play with understandings that narrow the scope of the game too much, or that remove otherwise-viable strategies for our own comfort, but there’s nothing more deflating than not letting people play the game.

-I hate that I participated in a conversation where I actually claimed to like the idea of starting to work Sundering Titan back into my decks.

Side note – I hate that the casino had about four pop songs on repeat when I was there a few weeks ago.  I say this because I hate having Bruno Mars stuck in my head since then.

-While I’m at it, Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People can suck it too.

-I absolutely hate the way that cards have appreciated in value as a result of the popularity of Commander.  Two years ago, I was irritated at having to pay $40 for an Underground Sea.  Heh.  Golden years in current comparison.  I’m putting the finishing touches on a Grixis zombie deck, and for the time being, it has to stay “budget” due to the cost of Revised duals, Onslaught fetchlands, and Ravnica shocklands.  For the perfectionist in me, that drives me absolutely nuts.

-Dammit, Sean…stop mentioning Winding Canyons in your StarCityGames articles.  I hate what that card is going for these days.

-I love Cardshark.  I hate the interface for loading cards.  Jesus…can I get a reasonable way to do batch uploads from Excel for non-MTGO cards please? 

-I hate preconceived notions in EDH.  I’m pretty sure that no one except Mr. P believed me when I said my rough Sharuum list from last week didn’t run Mindslaver, Disciple Of The Vault, or Thopter Foundry and Sword Of The Meek.

-For some reason, I still bristle when someone counters my spells.  I won’t quite go so far as to say I hate it, but my knee-jerk reaction is a flash of anger. 

I kinda hate that reaction, actually.

-On the same note, I hate my mono-blue Venser list.  Yes, it’s packed with counterspells.  And I hate that I’m starting to like the idea of slotting counters into my other lists.

-I really hate the constant debate on the official forums surrounding whether Primeval Titan and Kokusho both deserve to be banned (or not banned) for similar power-level reasons.  Good lord…you guys have been going strong for like four months straight.

In a related note, I hate that my opinion has shifted to sit somewhere on the fence in between both sides, and that I’m hoping that the RC will ban PrimeTime and un-ban Koko just to break things up a bit.

Mostly so I can build mono-black Kokusho…

-I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate Tooth and Nail and Survival Of The Fittest.  I’ve actually found myself staring at Tooth in hand, with plenty of mana to cast it entwined, and coming up with ways to discard or shuffle it away.  It just feels way too dirty to play at this point.

I hate Survival for a different reason.  There’s been a ton of talk lately about tutors, and how they affect the format, and I’m at the point where I agree with the position that prefers a random game to a completely scripted one.  (I’m looking forward to when Mr. P posts about his experience with Momir Vig on his blog…)  Now, a single Demonic Tutor doesn’t feel off to me; a one-time reach into your deck for the card that cracks open the game for you, or removes that troublesome permanent, or hell…finds you your third land drop, even…that doesn’t seem off.  What does seem off is being able to dig out every single creature in your deck via one card, and worse, I hate the auto-pilot game that it creates. 

I think I have some revamping to do in my green decks later…

-Good god, I hate the Venser vs. Koth Duel Deck lists.  Kinda makes me yearn for the days of From The Vaults: Legends

Related note: I love that SCG thinks that thing is worth $79.99… 

-I hate Gaddock Teeg as a general.  And Grand Arbiter.  I hate that I’m about to become a huge hypocrite (see above: Sharuum list), but you know what?  These never are different from what I expect.  Never.   

Dammit…coffee is gone, and my IPod is almost dead.  I hate the damn battery life on this thing.


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