A few months ago, I started attending a new Wednesday night Commander group. My old gaming location sadly lost their lease just after GenCon 2015, and my old group has since split several ways. My new location on Wednesdays is Infinity Games in Adelaide (come look us up if you are in my neck of the woods).
For the last several weeks, I’ve been getting to know the faces in this group that I’m not familiar with, and who are not familiar with me. I’ve been asking what sort of games people want to play – which in a few cases has been “we’re playing blue”. In those cases, I’ve broken out my Arcanis, the Omnipotent deck that I am often make reference to, annihilated the table in the clinical way only that deck can, and promptly asked the table if they would like another game…but only if we can actually play fun decks this time.
So far this modus operandi has been serving me well. I’ve been having a large number of really good games – win.
This week I decided to break away from the 5-C shenanigans lists I’ve been bombarding my new group with, and decided that it was time to pull out a philosophically-classic deck. One that, if you didn’t know better, you would assume is a combo fest pile of boring hate waiting to happen.
Riku of Two Reflections.
Riku the Ultimate Copy Ninja.
Riku, Zen Warrior.
Before I launch into the deck and its design, I want to give all you cats a bit of backstory on me. This is something I keep meaning to talk about, so you can all get a bit into my head and see how things tick.
TRIAL BY (HELL)FIRE
There was a period four or five years ago where the Magic scene here in Adelaide was undergoing a sort of ‘changing of the guard’. Old-bies like myself were not going anywhere, new kids were strolling in onto our turf, and some of the players who’d been on the scene for a while were transiting out to different pastures. This is the nature of the Magic consumer base; you get in, and you either stay till you’re a hardened card-slinging veteran, you run out of money and quit, or you burn out chasing the GP/PT scene.
One of the things that the new kids on the block were doing was playing this damn-fangled ‘EDH’ thing. As an old-bie I was being bombarded with “Oh yeah Kaka – you should play EDH! You play Vintage, you love old cards, it’s casual…you’ll kick our asses”. Being me, I resisted for a while before I started asking to be shown this wacky new thing. Unfortunately, no-one was carrying a spare deck (this is why you should always have a “My First EDH” or at least a precon floating about).
After several months of “Hey Kaka, come have a slice of this sweet cake, but only if you have your own cake knife, plate and fork to eat it with”, I got a little narky and built my first ever EDH deck.
My first EDH was definitely not a “My First EDH” deck. I spent my usual couple of months puttering about, filling a small cardboard longbox up with as many nasty pieces of cardboard as I could find. I raided Vintage and Legacy decks for powerful tools and weapons. I wandered through all the gaming stores in Adelaide, and I contacted interstate stores for parts. I even went as far as to place orders for parts from US online stores (which is a big thing for us here in Oz, as shipping is awful expensive and hence we usually do a big group order with insurance if we do).
I spent the next 2 months rifling through my box and cutting and trimming and analysing card choices to build the most oppressive godawful pile of hate I could slam together. It was an impressively hate-filled awful pile of nastiness at that – recurring asymmetrical Armageddons, multiple redundant infinite loops, flashed hasty Blightsteel Colossuses, Stasis prisons. I had all the freaking toys in there and life was good. I only got to play the deck a handful of times, which in hindsight is probably a good thing.
The build bug, however, had bitten me. I started building more and more bizarre mechanical monstrosities as I went. More and more of the style of deck design you know me for now; I started building things like a Shivan Gorge and Candelabra of Tawnos combo and some of the early “all the Wheels” decks (before the advent of Nekusar, the Mindrazer).
This was about when you all met me: a hot-headed grumpy bastard who’d come into this amazing format with the intent to maim. I regret how I entered our beloved format, but I am glad I am here as well due to the people I’ve met and games played.
OLD PROBLEMS AND NEW DIRECTIONS
The problem with what was happening in Adelaide Commander-wise was that the groups that had initially formed were dying off. People were not coming to game nights, and I was having to go further and further afield to play. The people who were coming were playing more and more broken piles of combo rubbish, and it was just unfun.
One of our local stores attempted a final run at getting a stable group going, and it was about this time that I started reading along here at General Damage Control. I was reading fanciful tales about idiots with no concept of threat assessment, and how much better games were without decks that are all “set up infrastructure, push start button and sip tequila sunrise until detonation occurs”.
I needed to build myself a new orchestra for my symphony of destruction
. . . . .
Tune in next time, where I’ll talk about the concept behind my first REAL EDH deck.