I had a minor epiphany – I’m not good at Magic.
Acceptable player, less exciting deckbuilder, and all around just plain OK. At first, this gave me a lot of pause, since I have spent a fair amount of time writing about the hows and whys of directing an Elder Dragon’s army. But then I realized…whatever. My soap box is awesome.
I came to this conclusion about my lack of exceptionalness empirically (aka anecdotally):
Evidence Point 1:
I don’t with half – or even 25% – of the games I play, despite thinking of myself as intelligent enough, and despite trying to reach those numbers. Look…so winning is the opposite of everything that’s really a goal in Ye Old Commandeeeeer. Right? In spirit, yes, but not literally. EDH is a game, and winners and losers are often considered an essential component of an activity to “count” as a game in the first place. So basically, not winning is a sign I’m doing something (but arguably not everything) wrong.
In a balanced group of mainly four-player games, everyone should win about a quarter of the time, with “win” meaning “be the last man standing” in the case of our group, because we don’t use points.
And I don’t – not even close.
I probably win the third-most out of the six of us (there are six who come, but usually only four attend on a given night, hence 25%).
Evidence Point 2:
I don’t see or execute complex lines or play several stages ahead. I’m not a particularly trix-y player. The fact that I don’t need to identify a new interaction on the fly and then combine 47 pieces (including cards on two players’ boards) to create a crazy loop that puts me in a winning position is not the issue. It’s that I often just say “Meh – smash/wrath/draw more cards/wahhhhtever.”
It’s not just because I’m lazy, but because I don’t calculate all the moving parts on board well enough to really see far enough ahead to make well-informed choices – or not often, anyway.
Evidence Point 3:
My decks are simple. They either smash, counter,-wrath-and draw, steal everything, or build up a critical tribal mass or focus on one mechanic (or something like that)…but they usually just do that. I may play a few techy pieces, and I tend to be pretty good about hitting the right balance of stuff so a narrow focus on mechanical theme can survive, but I never reach the point where I have a deck that does its one thing super well, while also hanging in there and being able to do a bit of everything else as necessary to keep up.
Case in point(s) – My most interesting deck is probably Sydri, Galvanic Genius No Creatures deck. Artifact durdles, funny synergies, and beating others to death with a Darksteel Ingot. But the mono-red “Myr Shenanigans” deck with Daretti, Scrap Savant at the helm that I’m working is much more typical:
Myr. Artifacts to support them and do funny stuff with them. And an Akroma’s Memorial.
That tends to be my level of thoughtfulness.
I’m sure there are other points, but lest you grow befuddled, never confuse my lack of magical acumen for a deficiency when it comes to EDH commander commander command commander. My soap box is intact, as is my awesomeness and general brash assumption of knowledging stuff.
RAD BAD SAD CRASHING INTO YOUR FACE SURPRIRSE!
THREE CARDS DEEP – FREEZING DECEMBER 2014:
The ‘Tutors-That-Come-With-A-Restriction’ Edition.
I really enjoy resolving this banal little elf – usually for Regal Force or Soul of the Harvest. It’s simple, abuseable, not super easy to use, tutors to hand telegraphing your next move, and susceptible to the ravages of Torpor Orb.
Verdict: Seven-card tutor chains to durdle, ahoy!
As does any spell worth eight or more mana, this revelation breaks games wide open. It’s the only win con you need in a silly, redundant, cheatery deck – and I have a few. It doesn’t reallllly count, but costing a bajilion mana is basically a restriction. And it’s… bad. Not as in weak, but as in “Ugh. Yeah fine. Do we lose?”
I’ve run this a number of times, mainly in The Mimeoplasm and other graveyard decks. It looks rad. DTutor for creatures + Entomb for creatures? I’m hardly surprised to see others sign up as quickly as I did. But for some reason – I think it’s the mana cost combined with the restriction to only creatures – it never shines. This is the only reason I can come up with for why Diabolic Tutor plus one-third of Buried Alive would not pack the quality punch you’d expect.
Verdict: Another ‘Meh sure…it’s fine whatever.’
. . . . .
Could it be anecdotal, insufficient sample size, and confirmation bias skewing my sense of Orders?
Nope. I’m awesome at EDH, just bad at Magic.