Defending the Commander Social Contract

Category: MDAVECS (Page 1 of 3)

How Not to Combo Off – Ghave at a Crossroads

I’m at a deckbuilding crossroads. More Bone Thugs n Harmony than Devil Came Down to Georgia. I’m pulled in three directions: tighten up curve by shaving clunky fun cards; pull out mana-intensive haymakers that often snowball out of control to sub in more “weird, wonky, fun” cards; or more or less do nothing, just keep tinkering.

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Let’s Do Fun! Nothing-Banned-Commander Ultimate Project

Imagine a perfect utopia, a blessed, privileged world of EDH where you liked everyone in your playgroup as people, where everyone was in the roughly same ballpark as far as things that make for fun EDH games, and everyone was super chill and capable of having a great time gaming, even if someone did something that wasn’t on their “Fun” list. Now celebrate (for me) because Team GDC has created this perfect world.

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Three Cards Deep – 06/28/2013

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on June 28, 2013. We’re flashing back to some of our best from the past several years every Friday, because what’s old is new again. I (Dave) don’t post much these days either, but I play, read, and argue with team GDC about EDH A LOT. So this is the very first in a series I used to do, in which I pick three random cards and evaluated them, trying to draw a thread between them. It was fun, but be nice; this was the first one.

(OLD Editor’s Note – Welcome aboard, Dave!)

Check it out-
Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

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No Post Tonight – RATS

No post tonight. Too many bats are in our belfry. (Yes, we all share one collective belfry.)

Instead, here’s a question I lobbed up on Reddit to a big fat nothing.

What is the best three-color general for a Selenya deck?

For a number of reasons, GW is the color combination that has given me the most trouble as far as creating a decent deck that I like. I’ve tried populate with Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, combo & control with Captain Sisay, ramp and birthing pod with Karametra, God of Harvests, hate bears with Gaddock Teeg, elf combo with Selvala, Explorer Returned, storm with Chorus of the Conclave, and Asmira, Holy Avenger voltron.

So my idea is to try something different and run a here color general but only g, w, gw, and colorless cards: basically a selesnya deck. I would love to try a legit aggro deck, pretty heavily focused on curving out, with but probably without an MLD finish. But if there’s a better (more interesting and dynamic moreso than more powerful) option, I’m open.
So anyone have any ideas for cool pairings?

<3 @MdaveCS

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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Why Does It Feel Like a Homecoming

Cass brought us back on Wednesday and although the site doesn’t look quite right, we’re getting there (thanks in no small part to good homie Ryan Swaney. NYC Magic represent!).

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Happy Just Be with Your Family Day (and Give Thanks)

We have a lot to be thankful for at GDC.


To get in that spirit, here’s a list of some of the greatest hits from Pappa Cassidy, the cardfather of General Damage Control.

Thanks for bringing this motley umlaut of misfits together, Cass.

1. Post number 2 in the entire history of GDC is Cassidy plugging himself guest-posting in Sheldon Menery’s old Star City Games column, Embracing the Chaos. OMG This fills me with Lols. Go read some wisdom from “DJ Catchem.”

2. In which three bogies that have persisted for five years all rear their well-loved heads: Poor threat assessment, Cassidy being the victim of said, and “The Mr. P effect.” Serendipity

3. Oh Man these old bits are SO GOOD. Cass tells us which is his favorite card of each type, if he were marooned on a desert island. Weird premise, shockingly revealing selections.

4. The appearance of Mr. P, in the ink.

5. The Sharuum Community project holds a close place in my heart because participating as a reader is how I got to know and eventually join GDC. There are lots of parts. One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight

This is really just a dip of the toe in the water, and you can find more here (in reverse chono).

Sometimes, a walk down memory lane and a bit of gratitude is all we need.


@MdaveCS and the rest of team GDC

You Must Learn These 5 Lessons from EDH, Durdling, and Life

Here are my top five totally random lessons I want to write about right now and a baby buzzfeed panda will get punched if you don’t read them.

5. Having a website/blog is tough. When both the editors, as well as four of the writers go through massive life changes, keeping the content flowing is really difficult.

4. If you have an inexpensive general (go you. great choice!) and you plan to cast it asap, you should also plan to recast it quickly. People often have a removal spell in their opener that they’re happy to burn to be a speed bump for your fast deck.

3. No matter how many times you explain it to the Internet, everyone still believes that their experience is the average. This goes for EDH metas (ie Mr. why-run-that-spell-the-game-is-decided-by-turn-six-anyway – a real person I argued with on Reddit), your personal sense of social injustices or lack thereof, parenting, and the best slice of pizza in New York (you’re all wrong, it’s DiFaras). Be understanding of others when they step into this hole, and avoid it yourself when you can.

2. You can’t please very many people at once, in fact only a very few. So stick to playgroups and EDH groups where you know you can navigate preferences in order to have a good time yourself without crushing others’ fun; or come with a thick skin for the jerks you piss off, and some humility for the good-dudes you accidentally stomp.

1. When it comes down to it, EDH is often (at its best? usually?) about connecting with people through a shared love for gaming, but with a little bit of the competitive edge worn away in favor of a setting where you don’t create or suffer any negative emotions like frustration if you accidentally spend 45 minutes arguing about the best container to cold-brew coffee or discussing who has the best state fair. So focus on the connections. Sometimes your website will take a back seat. The relationships never should.

hash tag dem feels I love team GDC.

If you think there are some actually central lessons people should learn for EDH/Commander, let me know @MdaveCS on twitter, and tag #KeyDHLessons. 🔑 Let’s have some learnin’


You’re Just Playing Him for the Colors, Right?

When I hear someone say “I don’t play Blue. I’m a Green player,” or whatever, and I openly scoff, I usually feel bad about the massive open head wounds they suffer as a result of my scorn. (Because everyone should play blue. #TeamMystic ForLYFE).

A few weeks ago Team GDC was arguing on Slack about their best and worst colors. It all started with Cass’s well-documented problem building Boros decks. He can’t do it. So we all started talking about the color combos that are tough for us – that we can’t seem to make work; and from that, also the colors we’re best at. I wanted to see if I was right to be dismissive of the “I won’t play blue” people or if a lot of people have mental blocks (or whatever) about specific colors.

So we got six people from team GDC to answer. Here are the results. Note that the questions are phrased to be totally vague – ideal for a small group where you share context, but SUPER unscientific to a larger group.

On the One Hand

team gdc challenge colors


The thing to note here is that white-red, white-green, blue-black, red-green, Bant, and Temur are tied. Chalk the last two up to people complaining about “goodstuff.” The others all either have red in them or are Dimir, which has a lack of good generals. I’m so sad that we all have a hard time building red decks that we like.

On the Other Hand

team gdc strong colors


There are only two outliers here – Black-red and Grixis. Note that both of these have red and black. Nothing else really stands out, but this probably basically reflects our collective obsession with Mishra, Artificer Prodigy.

To the Public

So I opened this up to the public and tweeted about it. Thus, truth is born.

56 people responded about what colors give them pause.


public challenge


Note that everybody who answered struggles with or dislikes (there’s that ambiguous language in the question popping up to make this data not data) red-white. Second to that is mono red (which actually blows my mind since mono-red is AMAZING), followed by mono white, black-green, and white-black-red.

I don’t really have a conclusion here, except that red is realllllly unloved. Whether that’s because of people feeding back what they read about it being the weakest color, or because it actually sucks… who knows. But I found this interesting.

Until I come back to ramble more.



PS form’s still open if you want to answer.

Pardon the Delays

Either Gleemax or RoboRosewater got a hold of all our content so…. you don’t even want to look.

But seriously, some of us are moving states, others still wrestling with new jobs, and other similar things. So we’re working to get back on track.

In the meantime, if you haven’t taken this survey about which colors are the “worst” in EDH, please do so. Tell us which colors you dislike and/or struggle with, as well as the opposite.




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