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Magic the Gathering - Commander
I'd really love to discuss such here, among those who aren't dedicated MtG players, similar to the hearthstone thread. I just don't have the time to dedicate to starting a good conversation on the point with writing such deserves.
Commander seems to be the shining light of cheap yet engaging gaming virtue in the darkness of collectible money sinks.
I've been in and out of MtG over the years, 1994-1997 (4th edition/fallen empires to Weatherlight, which was 4th grade to the end of 6th grade for me), then back in from 2007-2012 (alara to theros), and then when I opened the shop in 2017 I fell back into it hard, presumably to talk to people and get a feel for everything, but it's also an insanely fun game. The issue with it is cost and lack of self control, which is true of board game consumption in general. At least expensive MtG cards don't take up much space.
I'm not a daily grinding Spike anymore. I've always tried to make the best budget decks that I can. Back in 2010-2011, I played Kuldotha Red (artifacts and goblins and lightning bolt, aww yeah, back when Goblin Guide was an $8 card, and the control decks in STANDARD got close to $1k). As a store owner with access to tons of stuff, I still try to build on a budget to show that it's possible. So here's my current crop of commanders. I try to keep individual card price below $10, with very few cards reaching that price point. I like low CMC commanders so that I can use them and their abilities.
Ayli, The Eternal Pilgrim. I run it basically like Soul Sisters (and soul brother with deathgreeter) and tons of token generation. I don't run any anthem (+1/+1 to creatures effects) because I categorically do not try to win on combat damage. I play Aetherflux Reservoir, Felidar Sovereign, Test of Endurance, Approach of the Second Sun, with a few tutors to go grab these if I don't happen to draw them. Basically if it says "win for having tons of life" I try to have it in the deck. There are some low $ all stars like Skullclamp, Sword of the Animist, and Sol Ring. Even the Necropotence I have was like $7 because it's banned in so many formats, but not EDH! This deck does quite well multiplayer, because no one wants to waste their removal on a Soul's Attendant or whatever, and once it gets going I can get Ayli out and just exile whatever the hell I want at instant speed. I LOVE this deck.
Radha, Heir to the Keld. I call this one "The Devil's Heir's Radha," because it's a super budget Land Destruction deck. I ramp, and then try to hit you with Stone Rain or Thermokarst on turn 2. Unlike Ayli, this one does much better head to head than in multiplayer, because it's harder to keep 3 people off of their colors than just one. I need some bigger top end threats, because sometimes I'll start great and then just lack a finisher. It takes awhile to swing for 40 damage with just Radha and an Ogre Arsonist...
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Most expensive card in the deck. I threw this one together haphazardly, just grabbing any white card that says "other people can't do things." I need to voltron it up a bit and put some kind of white equipment tutoring package in or something... I had the cat preconstructed deck a little while ago, but I sold most of the good cards to some regulars who were putting together Sram and Bruna. This one is not good or fun and needs tons of work.
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind. New card from Dominaria! Right now she's just a 60-card Brawl deck, and she's quite fun. I just grabbed any common or uncommon card that said "instant, sorcery, or wizard" on it and boom, there it was. I plan to get 40 cards from older sets and put stickers inside the sleeves so this can pull double duty as brawl and traditional EDH. The old school deck will feature every blue cantrip and every cheap red burn, pump, or 'ritual' effect, so it can get kind of stormy. Lots of one drops and Phyrexian mana spells too. I think it'll be a blast.
I almost always have female commanders, lol. I think it's because they're all low CMC and that tends to be what I like to do. I've been eye-ing Josu Vess, to make him a bro-mander like Adeliz. I'd like to make a mono black control with him with Cabal Stronghold and some other mana boosters.
I like to keep to 2 colors because the decks are way cheaper with such limited mana bases. I've never enjoyed spending $15 on a land, even though those are the cards most likely to retain value over time.
Commander is a delightfully nerdy form of self expression; it and Brawl are super fun for me.
I've been playing since the beginning. Back when free decks were passed out. (Insert obligatory self inflicted kicks in the ass for not keeping those precious cards now worth thousands of dollars, and for losing them to ante draws before the game).
Back then, there weren't 60 card deck limits, nor were there 4x card limits. I recall taking a dumb black rat deck to CorpseCon in the mid nineties and was balked at when I played my fifth copy of Plague Rats.
This was merely a casual game at a table, yet the indignation aroused by my deck composition was enormous. I had no idea the rules had changed, as my friend and I only played during our lunch breaks. I just played casual.
I like Commander specifically because I'm allowed to ease back into the casual and creative freedom of the game as it originally was portrayed in design.
There is no better feeling than to take a card you've seen as garbage for 20 years, and actually do something constructive in a game with it. And in a library of cards as vast as WotC has produced for 25+ years, that's a lot of opportunities.
I have over half a dozen decks. I got back in during the 2015 run of precons. Some are unmodified store bought precons. A couple are unique decks I built and fiddle with, throwing fun stuff in to see what plays well in a casual group that likes to promote fun, such as cards found in the Conspiracy set or maybe even the Un-sets.
I also have a Breya artifact precon deck that has been modified with some higher dollar/competitive cards, for the more intense Commander games in case there are some competitive types around.
It's a wonderful format and very fluid in how a player can approach it. You can spend as little or as much as you want in order to have a good game experience. Efficient, high dollar decks do play better, but the Highlander "There can be only One(card)" approach is the great equalizer to even out the playing field, more often than not.
I'm glad it's recognized by WotC, since it allows more folks to accept and engage in it because of that approval.
It really is the best way to enjoy the game, and still have enough money to pay rent.
Shellhead wrote: The last time I bought Magic cards was during Ice Age, which makes me sound really ancient. The last time I played was maybe 2001. I think that I would actually enjoy playing a Commander deck, but the typical Magic player seems too intense to play for fun.
exact same situation for me. Haven't really played since Ice Age. Tried a FNM in 2010 or so which was a disaster (they were all too intense to play for fun, just like you said). I just do booster drafts with friends now once a quarter or so.
Oh, and Magic Duels on Xbox One is something i play everyday. Great free game with lots of variety. Looking forward to Arena but the economy sounds brutal.
Shellhead wrote: The last time I played was maybe 2001. I think that I would actually enjoy playing a Commander deck, but the typical Magic player seems too intense to play for fun.
This "typical magic player" is people like us now. Tournament attendance is super low these days; the event driven store model is becoming a thing of the past. Tournament guys play Modern at select few stores that are able to get it to fire, or at much larger events like the SCG opens.
It's like saying everyone who plays board games quotes The Princess Bride and listens to Weird Al at totally low and reasonable volume to not annoy others. Oh, and lives in his sister's basement.
board game players don't seem as bad in general, but I still hate playing with randos
Most gamers in these parts seem to have their shit together enough in the hygiene and mental health department.
The younger gamers seem to struggle with it a bit though, as they try to find a balance between obsession and healthy social outlet. But that's part of growing up.
Colorcrayons wrote: The younger gamers seem to struggle with it a bit though, as they try to find a balance between obsession and healthy social outlet. But that's part of growing up.
Agreed. The new middle schoolers coming up are the most likely to display poor social skills, but I think that's true of all 12-year-old boys with an ounce of privilege and their parents' money.
I've seen roughly the same %age of sore losers and winners between board gamers and the TCG players.