Bah Humbug, EDH players! This week’s Scroll Rack talks money, proxies, and what to do with the box of awful cards wasting space in your closet. Have a question of your own? Ask @KingnArlo on twitter, or just add #ScrollRack to your tweet.

EDH Tax is a bitch, aint it? Just a few short years ago, one could acquire “Scroll Rack” for a couple bucks, and don’t get me started about stuff like this:

Talk about being gouged! My initial thoughts regarding the EDH tax were the ABU duals. These ten had a steady price and rate of climb for years, until very recently. You can’t point at legacy and vintage players, by and large these O.G.’s of Magic had accumulated their duals long ago. It has to be EDH players. But then again, that doesn’t answer Cassidy’s question, because we’re looking for the most egregious example. Duals at least have a legitimate reason for their price: a spot on the reserved list and the guarantee that they will never be exceeded in power level. What then, qualifies for rip-off status? EDH staples that suck in other formats. Look no further than the big Eldrazi. They are nowhere to be seen in other formats because of the availability of “Emrakul, The Aeons Torn”. Fifty bucks? Geez Louise.

When is it okay to proxy? My philosophy on proxies is pretty liberal. Here’s what I consider fair game, in order:

    1. Building a deck. Completing a tuned EDH deck can now cost thousands of dollars, depending on the card choices you make. Some people like to try before they buy, and I’m happy with that in a casual setting.
    2. Wanting to run a card in multiple decks. Whether it’s “Gaea’s Cradle” or “Sensei’s Divining Top”, plenty of folks would rather spend on the next card than buy four copies of the same staple.
    3. Gold bordered cards. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Sheldon Menery’s recent opposition to these cheaply available power cards is mostly based on writing for “The World’s Largest Magic: The Gathering Store.” I own nine legal “Ancient Tombs” and one gold. You better believe I run Tomb in ten decks.
    4. Alters. Some people would rather paint up Zendikar lands than buy ABU duals. Since the blue variants climbed over $200, I can’t blame them. An area of concern for me, however is the sale of these completely fabricated proxies. Isn’t avoiding money the whole point of a proxy card?

Hi Judson. You have a problem very common among magic players: what to do with all the extra junk? I faced the same issue a couple months ago while ditching my storage unit. Cramming the closet with boxes of commons from Fallen Empires is a fool’s errand, but it is worthwhile to go through those random cards you’ve had laying around. In my case, six large boxes whittled down to about 200 cards became enough credit from for a Mana Drain. If you’re not up to the monotonous task of cataloging and shipping commons, may I suggest an Origami beer koozie?

Talk about a nice problem to face, eh folks? I like Caleb’s question for a number of reasons, principally because he likes to win, but not at all costs. That’s my kind of EDH player. Growing a deck’s power and your own capability playing it is natural over time. Being able to reflect and consider how you may have met, exceeded or strayed from your original goals will impact both how you play magic and compose your decks. In a nutshell,

Caleb started here:

And ended up like:

Here’s where I think you can improve things:

  1. Start with your choice of General. Most people who decide to play Oloro, Ageless Ascetic don’t do so because they want to bulid Sitting in Chairs tribal. I recently decided on Adun Oakenshield instead of the other, more powerful Jund options, simply because I wanted something different.
  2. How much do you metagame for common opponents? A good example of crossing the line would be adding Flusterstorm to all your blue decks because of a guy playing storm. I always advise to focus on your strategy, not the opponents. Adapting to opposition is fine as long as that isn’t your M.O.
  3. Fine tuning vs net-decking. I like to look at others’ work when designing, as a means to analyze how everybody else has interpreted the general I’m working with. Doing so also enables you to anticipate your future opponent’s moves, which leads me to my next point:
  4. How much of the problem is your own pre-programmed response? Identifying a pattern and exploiting that error is something that occurs naturally in our brains, called chunking. Making a conscious effort to change your natural line of thinking when facing the same challenge repeatedly will enrich your games and offer more vigorous competition. In a nutshell, break the mold you’ve cast for yourself.
  5. Have you conditioned your opponents? This system obviously works both ways. Increasing the variables at your disposal makes things more difficult for your opponents, and also discourages them from making assumptions in game.
  6. Add the right pieces. I recently dusted off my Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck, and found I had too many cards in sleeve. Coming across Survival of the Fittest, I realized it was only there for when Edric got tucked, or Prophet of Kruphix. To me that’s a clear indicator of staple envy as opposed to proper fit for the deck; it was the wrong piece.

Thanks again to everybody who submitted, and sorry for missing a week! If you’ve got a question regarding EDH, get at me @KingnArlo. Peace!