Category Archives: Commander

Running Eternal Masters Commander Review

I’m going to try something different here on 99CMDR Problems. I’m going to keep a running review of the cards that are being previewed in the new Eternal Masters set. Once a new card gets previewed by an official previewer (they were given that card, not just a leak), I’ll throw my two cents on here. Newest previewed cards on top.

Since these are all reprints, it’s a bit easier to gauge on how they’ll play out in the format. These will be short reviews (maybe 100-150 words) to give you an idea of what I think of them plus any info I think is necessary. Here’s the scale I’m going to use:

5.0 – Must have staple in every deck in those colors.
4.0 – Very good card and must be considered.
3.0 – Good card in those colors, sometimes a roleplayer.
2.0 – Usually only part of a combo deck or not that spectacular.
1.0 – I would advise against using it.

I’m going to also include if it’s a new art, first time in foil, article of the preview to get more in depth (most likely non Commander related), and the last printing if you want the older card. Images from

May 25

wrathofgodName: Wrath of God
Rarity: Rare
New Art:
Last Printed:
 From the Vault: Annihilation
Rating: 5.0

A card so good it’s boring? Maybe. Sets that have printed Wrath of God: From the Vault: Annihilation, Commander 2013, Tenth Edition, Ninth Edition, Eighth Edition, Seventh Edition, Textless Players Rewards, Battle Royal Box Set, Sixth Edition, Portal, Fifth Edition, Forth Edition, Revised, Unlimited, Beta, Alpha. 15 Times (Though only twice in nine years to be fair).

Sets that have printed Damnation, it’s Black color-shifted counterpart: Judge Promo, Textless Players Rewards, Planar Chaos. Enjoy your Void (And Toxic Deluge too).

voidName: Void
Rarity: Rare
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Time Spiral Timeshifted Sheet
Previewed by: Blake Rasmussen (
Rating: 3.0

There are two things that Black can do well: kill creatures and make players discard. Red can kill artifacts pretty well. Put them on a card and you could have a huge hit. Make you choose a number for converted mana cost in order to kill said things? Well, that’s when we get into a bunch of trouble. It can be good if an opponent is playing a deck with a bunch of cards, or tokens, that cost the same. The fact that you have a chance to keep your stuff alive is the saving grace on this card, but mostly you’ll be using this as a 2-1 or if you’re lucky like 4-1. That’s still a good card, but it’s never a truly a feel good card unless you blow someone out with it. Then that’s the best feeling.

mysticaltutorName: Mystical Tutor
Rarity: Rare
New Art:
Last Printed:
 From the Vault: Exiled
Previewed by: The Command Zone
Rating: 4.7

The fourth of the tutor cycle, this one ranks just behind Vampiric Tutor as the best once since Blue loves instants and sorceries. Go grab a card with Miracle, say Entreat the Angles or Temporal Mastery or Terminus, and profit. Mix this with Sensei’s Divining Top and you can draw that card this turn, something not unheard of in Commander. It’s a tutor, and unless you spend 20 minutes searching through your deck, everyone likes a tutor effect. This is one of the best.

ashnodsaltarName: Ashnod’s Altar
Rarity: Uncommon
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Sixth Edition
Previewed by: The Command Zone
Rating: 3.5

FIRST TIME IN FOIL ALERT! If you sacrifice a creature, it pays your Commander Tax. That’s the bare minimum this card does. But in reality, it’s a huge combo enabler with so many different combos I can’t go into them here. 17 years since its last printing, the hope is to see this in more Commander decks because it should be. Sacrificing the creature is free (which is great if an opponent wants to steal a creature), and tokens love it as well. Hopefully this card will get more love and be more than the combo engine it’s usually played as.

Name: Chain Lightning
Rarity: Uncommon
New Art:
 No (Premium Deck Series)
Last Printed:
 Premium Deck Series: Fire and Lightning
Rating: 1.5

I had to go to to find out how often this card is played since I couldn’t remember it ever in a Commander deck. It’s a fun card, but it’s just not that useful in Commander.

vindicateName: Vindicate
Rarity: Rare
New Art:
 No (Judge Promo)
Last Printed:
 Judge Promo
Previewed by: Jarvis Yu (
Rating: 5.0

The other three little words that strike fear into Magic players: Destroy target permanent. The only draw back is the sorcery speed, there’s pretty much nothing else to dislike about this card. I prefer the original Apocalypse art, but that’s because the art in that old frame looks fantastic and iconic. This card is so good that for a few years WotC has been trying to “remake” this card in Utter End and Anguished Unmaking (also fearing Sorin in the art). Yes, this card is worth it in every deck you can cram it into as it will solve almost anything that’s troubling you.

shardlessagentName: Shardless Agent
Rarity: Rare
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Judge Promo
Rating: 3.1

What makes this better than Bloodbraid Elf? Simple, it’s in Blue and it costs less. With Cascade, the higher the cost the more it hits things. Great for Maelstrom Wanderer since you want to hit big creatures and swing with them. Shardless Agent lets you miss bigger spells and hit more direct effects you may want to cast (Draw, ramp, bounce, etc) earlier in the game. Plus, being in Blue, you can bounce him back to your hand and cast it again (Deadeye Navigator trick doesn’t) work here. You can hit more consistent cards if you build it with Shardless Agent in mind. Also a bonus: Artifact. Abuse that to your heart’s content.

Name: Hymn to Tourach
Rarity: Uncommon
New Art:
 No (From the Vault)
Last Printed:
 From the Vault: 20
Rating: 1.7

Hymn is a really good card, just not in multiplayer. If you play 1v1 Commander, then this rating changes completely (for the better), but I’m not focused on that here.

maelstromwandererName: Maelstrom Wanderer
Rarity: Mythic
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Commander’s Arsenal
Previewed by: Quinn Murphy (
Rating: 4.2

COMMANDER ALERT! Only printed in Planechase 2012 (which will also see print in the Planechase Anthology later this year), and the hard to acquire Commander’s Arsenal, this powerhouse Commander warps formats whenever he’s cast. The new art looks wonderful and The Wanderer opens up plenty more deck styles than Animar, Soul of Elementals usual “Creatures and Lands only”. Cascade is so good, even when it gets countered you get the effect. Twice here.

Name: Prodigal Sorcerer
Rarity: Uncommon
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Time Spiral Timeshifted Sheet
Previewed by: Mark Price (
Rating: 1.4

“Pinging”, the act of dealing one damage, used to be in Blue. Crazy, I know. Tim here is a relic of the past. Run to see him again, but unless you’re playing pauper Commander or a really weird highlander variant, I just don’t think he makes a list.

rorixbladewingName: Rorix Bladewing
Cost: 3RRR

Rarity: Rare
New Art:
Last Printed:
Previewed by: UMotivo
Rating: 2.4

COMMANDER ALERT! Let me tell you about this card. Back when this was first printed, it basically had to be Legendary because a 6/5 flying haste for 6 was too good. This is the same set that saw a 4/4 for 2GG that didn’t have a drawback and everyone thought powercreep. This old Pit Fighter might have been passed up in the cool department two sets later when his undead self was just more fun to play, but in a format where you only care about having one copy of a card, the Legendary tag doesn’t matter and hitting for 6 is still good.

unexpectedlyabsentName: Unexpectedly Absent
Rarity: Rare
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Commander 2013
Previewed by: The Mana Pool podcast
Rating: 3.1

FIRST TIME IN FOIL ALERT! I honestly thought that when this card came out in Commander 2013, that it be a huge hit. Not only do you get to remove any permanent, but you force them to draw it again (unless you do it in response to them searching their library then it’s bye bye for a while). The X is just bonus as for WW you can do the same as 1UG with Temporal Spring but as an Instant. But it’s not been that popular from what I can tell. Is it the only one printing? It may not be a superstar but I still believe that it’s a valuable card.

counterspellName: Counterspell
Rarity: Common
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Duel Decks: Jace vs. Chandra
Rating: 3.5

FIRST TIME FOIL IN NEW FRAME ALERT! Ah, the Blue Mage’s closet and best friend. All it takes is two untapped Islands and three little words to scare an opposing mage. The first time seen in Magic boosters since Seventh Edition, Counterspell gets the job done. Powerful even without adding on any keyword mechanics or additional text. Never be ashamed to cast this card.

 Cabal Therapy
Rarity: Uncommon
New Art:
Last Printed:
 Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
Previewed by: Joshua Claytor (
Rating: 2.3

The obvious trick with Cabal Therapy is to name a card on a guess, see the opponent’s hand to what they actually have, then sacrifice a creature to get what they do have. Or if it’s been discarded, use it as a sacrifice outlet. That last line of play is most likely it’s play in Commander, but even then it’s a one of sacrifice effect on a sorcery to maybe hit something. It’s way better in competitive Magic and something like Raven’s Crime is much better suited for Commander if you’re looking for the discard outlet. Continue reading

Vote for the 2016 Commander Oscars

Oscar HeadThe 2016 Motion Picture Oscars are this weekend so I thought, “What were the best Commander cards printed in 2015?” There were so many criteria that I decided to break them out into their own individual category. Just like the Oscars. I wanted to throw an awards show for the best Commander cards from last year. This is a nice first step; maybe next year I wear a tux or something.

I took data from the ever wonderful to gather this list. But this is more than just seeing which were the top five cards of each category were. Everyone has their favorites. You are going to vote on them. And on Sunday, February 28th, I’ll announce the winners.

Oh, and one random winner is going to win my review copy of the Classic Art Tokens from the Kickstarter that everyone’s been talking about. The Kickstarter won’t be shipping their cards out until August of this year; you can have them months ahead of everyone else. I’ll do more of a review at the bottom and how you can enter and fill in your ballot.

And now, the nominees for the 2016 Commander Oscars.

Set Design: Best Land
Blighted Woodland – Battle for Zendikar
Commander Beacon – Commander 2015
Haven of the Spirit Dragon – Dragons of Tarkir
Mage-Ring Network – Magic Origins
Shrine of the Forsaken Gods – Battle for Zendikar

Achievement in Colorless Cards
Conduit of Ruin – Battle for Zendikar
Scour from Existence – Battle for Zendikar
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon – Fate Reforged
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger – Battle for Zendikar
Void Winnower – Battle for Zendikar

Art Direction: Best New Art on a Non-Standard Reprint
Boros Signet – Commander 2015
Decree of Justice – Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Kiora
Kiora, the Crashing Wave – Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Kiora
Primal Command – Duel Decks: Zendikar vs Eldrazi
Vendilion Clique – Modern Masters 2015

Best White Card
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit – Dragons of Tarkir
Emeria Shepherd – Battle for Zendikar
Grasp of Fate – Commander 2015
Monastery Mentor – Fate Reforged
Tragic Arrogance – Magic Origins

Best Blue Card
Clone Legion – Dragons of Tarkir
Mystic Confluence – Commander 2015
Reality Shift – Fate Reforged
Supplant Form – Fate Reforged
Ugin’s Insight – Battle for Zendikar

Best Black Card
Crux of Fate – Fate Reforged
Dark Petition – Magic Origins
Ob Nixilis Reignited – Battle for Zendikar
Sidisi, Undead Vizier – Dragons of Tarkir
Zulaport Cutthroat – Battle for Zendikar

Best Red Card
Flameshadow Conjuring – Magic Origins
Impact Tremors – Dragons of Tarkir
Outpost Siege – Fate Reforged
Mizzix’s Mastery – Commander 2015
Mob Rule – Fate Reforged

Best Green Card
Evolutionary Leap – Magic Origins
Greenwarden of Murasa – Battle for Zendikar
Nissa, Vastwood Seer//Nissa Sage Animist – Magic Origins
Pathbreaker Ibex – Commander 2015
Shamanic Revelation – Fate Reforged

From the Vault Lifetime Achievement Award
Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Best Muilticolor Card
Bring to Light – Battle for Zendikar
Kiora, Master of the Depths – Battle for Zendikar
Narset Transcendent – Dragons of Tarkir
Savage Ventmaw – Dragons of Tarkir
Sire of Stagnation – Battle for Zendikar

Prop Design: Best Artifact
Alahammarret’s Archive – Magic Origins
Blade of Selves – Commander 2015
Hedron Archive – Battle for Zendikar
Hero’s Blade – Fate Reforged
Sword of the Aminist – Magic Origins

Best Legendary Creature as a Commander
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death – Fate Reforged
Ezuri, Claw of Progress – Commander 2015
Omnath, Locus of Rage – Battle for Zendikar
Meren of Clan Net Toth – Commander 2015
Tasigur, the Golden Fang – Fate Reforged

Vote here

Voting ends Sunday, February 28, 5:30 PM Pacific (The time the Oscars start).

Token - SpiritQuick review for the Classic Art Tokens:

Obviously having tokens of classic art pieces are a personal preference, but these are great enough to have people take a second glace at them. These tokens are of the highest quality; the print quality is amazing, and the way the cardboard feels in your hand is a nice, sturdy thickness. Everything on the card looks fantastic. The gold border is striking enough so you know you’re dealing with a unique card on the battlefield and to evoke the idea of card art in a frame on a gallery wall. The layout is wonderful (I like the power/toughness box in the center of the card), and all of the relevant game information is visible enough not to take away the focus of the main reason why you want these tokens: the art.

Part of the appeal, besides just the great art in general, is a bunch of the humor you have in all of these different creature types. Some of these could have gone to simple and easy choices but it didn’t, and that’s what makes this a fun bunch of cards to hold in your hands. To have the Soldier be George Washington (Sorry to all the British out there), Horror be The Scream, the Germ token is represented by a plague doctor, and Worm be a guy in a library (Book Worm) is some of the great humor you see in the art. Since I don’t know all of the arts, it has the art piece and the artist so you can even call it educational as well. The only art piece I really didn’t like was the 4/4 Dragon one, but if you’ve got one personal misstep in over 100 cards, I think that’s pretty great overall.

Token - Commander CollectionAgain, it’s up to you if you like the idea of the real world coming into your fantasy world as you play the game. I know plenty of people who like card alters so something like this in a Commander setting doesn’t feel out of place. They’re beautiful, well made, and something I think is a fantastic idea.

I could keep these cards, but I want someone else to have them and show them off. As you see to the right, here’s what they have for the Commander collection that I suggested should be offered (I’m sure I’m not the only one but I’d like to think I helped). I bought into the $30 tier, one for every token they’ll print, to show you that it’s not something I’m shelling. I don’t support many things that get offered my way because I want to make sure that I believe in that product. This is one of those times where I’m happy to add to the voices out there that love them already. These cards are fantastic and as a Token lover, I want to keep these with my Commander decks.

Vote in the Commander Oscar Ballot, and one lucky person will win my review set.

Check out the Kickstarter here.

Updating Deck Lists – OGW – Ulamog 1.0 to Kozilek 1.0


Oh Yeah!

I’ve got plans for 21 different Commander decks.

Sure, not all of them are built yet, but one of my favorite parts of the Commander format is building and retooling decks. I’ve put together plenty of decks only to tear them apart later (maybe I should be doing this on MTGO).

Exploring how decks change between sets is something that’s fascinating and I don’t see on many Commander sites (Let me know if I’m wrong). I’m looking to do something different with my decks and track what the changes are. I think we can learn a lot from ourselves and the format if we chronicle the metamorphosis of our Commander decks.

Each of my Commander decks has a different version number, starting with 1.0 for the first set I work at catalog on them; i.e, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger 1.0 was started in Battle for Zendikar. Since this is a new process, most of the decks will be versions 1.0, I have several built from Battle for Zendikar and Commander 2015 that are versions 1.0. With so many decks, it makes it awkward to constantly work on the same ones over. So to make things fair between the decks, every time a new set is released I put them in a random order and I’ll work on them as I can. Except this time I chose my Ulamog deck because of the complete turnover of the deck.

(Instead of linking every single card here, I suggest you use browser extensions if you want to see what the cards are if you’re unfamiliar with them. The website has links to the most popular browsers.) Continue reading

A Quick Look at Oath of the Gatewatch Commanders

First, breaking news from the Rules Committee.

There are a few changes to the rules. First, they’re adopting the “Vancouver” Mulligan but suggests that in your playgroup you can do what you want. I’ve always liked Partial Paris, but this is an okay move.

Second, Prophet of Kruphix is banned. Either you love it or hate it, but it’s getting the axe.

Third, decks can now produce any color of mana. Before, if you had something like City of Brass, you could only produce colors that your Commander was. Now, it can produce any of the five colors (Colorless is not a color). You can’t stick a Mystic Monastery in your Brion Stoutarm deck since it has the Blue mana symbol; this rule doesn’t change. It’s for only fringe cases that this mattered.

Now, onto the Commander review. I’m going to be taking a look at the seven new Legendary Creatures in Oath of the Gatewatch. Not every Legendary Creature is worthy of piloting their own 99 card deck. Some of these creatures will form their own decks and be seen on tables all over the multiverse. Others, well, they’ll sit in trade binders collecting dust waiting for that one player who wants to do something different.

Let’s go in collector’s number order.

Kozilek, the Great DisortionKozilek, the Great Distortion – 8CC
Legendary Creature – Eldrazi
When you cast ~this~, if you have fewer than seven cards in hand, draw cards equal to the difference.
Discard a card with converted mana cost X: Counter target spell with converted mana cost X.

It’s only fitting that the headlining card in the set starts us off. Kozilek has the fancy new Colorless mana symbol in its casting cost. Confused about what it is? I’ll let human giant Matt Tabak explain. Kozilek joins a select few number of true legal colorless Commanders (Karn, Silver Golem; Kozilek, Butcher of Truth; Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre).

Since we can only use colorless cards in our decks, this lowers the number of available cards by quite a bit. Most artifacts and lands are colorless (as long as they don’t have colored man symbols like the Khans of Tarkir Banners) so they can fit in here. There are very few sorceries and instants that are colorless, so most of the cards have to be played during your turn. Kozilek here changes all of that. Now, after filling your hand after casting him, you can hope to guard your board with protection you never had before. Plus all the new toys in Oath of the Gatewatch can really open up a playstyle other than lockdown the board.

I had a Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger that I built after Battle for Zendikar, but him as a Commander never really felt right. Swinging with him does change games but I wasn’t satisfied with him leading my team. I feel as if I can switch in Kozilek into the deck and it makes it that much better. Kozilek can act as a tempo card (12/12 menace for 10) or a control card (countering spells) which makes it just that much easier to shift your strategy around depending on the game.

Verdict: Commander worthy
Cute combo: Mindless Automaton a turn before he’s cast. Continue reading

The Tuck Rule Isn’t Some Football Game Anymore

Spin into MythThe Rules Committee came out yesterday and made a fundamental rule change about Commander. Here’s the important part:

If your commander would go into the library or your hand, you may choose to put it into the command zone. It’s as simple as that. Just like with the graveyard, if you want it to go into the library/hand, you’re more than welcome to let it. Note that this is a replacement effect, but it can apply multiple times to the same event.

Sheldon then presented four reasons why this rule changed. General Damage Control wrote a nice piece breaking down the four reasons why they’re against it so I’ll just direct you to them instead of rehashing it.

I am not in favor of this rule change. But, to be fair, I haven’t played with it yet and that’s usually the best way to get to know something (playtesting is king). Daryl Bockett (@the_casual_guy) has:

And he’s right, the social contract is a much better fix for this sort of situation than saying the Rules Committee needs to be disbanded. But let’s get down to why I think this is a bad rule change and why the social contract is key here. Continue reading

Introducing Commander Spreadsheet Template v1.0

SpellbookI showed off some of my spreadsheet in my previous post and some people on Twitter were looking for it. So I tinkered around with what I had and added some new things. So I’m happy to announce v1.0 of said spreadsheet.


  • I used Office 2013 to make this spreadsheet due to Conditional Formatting, Formulas and Notes that I don’t know how much of it will work in older versions.
  • Because the way this is constructed, it can be used for Tiny Leaders as well. I guess if you don’t mind writing the same card over and over again, then it can be used for any format if you want. There are up to 50 lines for each card type so it can work for most competitive decks as well.
  • Can be used with mono-color, dual-color or tri-color decks. No four or five color decks at the moment.

Commander Decklist Template

In the spreadsheet I give you the basic template and a copy of my v0.9 of my Brion Stoutarm sheet as an example. There were some changes to the 1.0 version that I just didn’t clean up for the Brion version. The key here is to make the spreadsheet as automated and useful as possible. There are still things I want to do in here (Such as sort each color’s card type by CMC), but I wanted to get the basic functional spreadsheet out. I have notes attached to certain cells and those apply for all the logical cells, please read them so it makes understanding the sheet easier. It’s not completely user friendly, a problem I have when I design spreadsheets for myself, but I’ll be working towards a more elegant presentation.

The first screen that you see is the basic decklist, and where the info is presented, NOT where you start typing. If you scroll to the right, you can see the different categories of cards where you fill in the information. The other screen will populate automatically with the info that you put it. Since this isn’t hooked up to a database, you have to fill in the information properly (it’s your fault if you mess up). If you continue scrolling to the right, you see a bunch of extra information to make the whole sheet work. Since I’m still working around in Excel, I’m sure this could be better executed, but at the moment that’s what you get.

I have put in the note for the CMC where I found that formula: vorketh on the forum. Pretty awesome to have found it which makes this page a bit smaller.

There are some things that I want to do with future versions of this spreadsheet:

  • Keep track of changes from set to set.
  • More detailed information about the colors in your deck such has the P/T, CMC of each card type, Mana symbols.
  • More land information (what type of color the land produces/how much mana it produces)

If you’re looking for a different type of spreadsheet, General Damage Control has one of their own which is nice if you’re looking for more category oriented sheet (Draw/Kill/Combo Pieces, etc). Since I am not really looking to do with this set up, I am passing that link to you if you prefer that for organizing your deck.

So download the template, explore it, wreck it, and change it to fit your needs. Follow the notes and you can operate this pretty easily. Take pieces of this and use it on your own spreadsheet, that’s perfectly okay as that’s part of what I did here. If you have any questions or comments, you can comment down below contact me on Twitter (@MTGColorPie), or email me (mtgcolorpie @ gmail)

We Three Decklists – Brion, Trostani, and Volrath

Well of Lost DreamsIt was in my MTGColorPie post where I mentioned that I wanted to write not only more but especially about Commander. So we’re going to keep the momentum train going by writing about a long ongoing goal that I’ve never really accomplished: keeping track of the changes in my Commander decklists.

A long time ago I believed that Commander decklist shouldn’t be put online as it gets rid of some of the creativity that you can do with the format. I believe that a great Commander deck is a part of its creator and not some optimized list that you find online. If you didn’t know, I’m not a huge fan of competitive Commander so don’t expect that kind of conversation here. I do believe in having a nice put together list with some combos and some powerful cards, after all I’m a Johnny/Spike. If you’re looking for another close philosophy of how I build my decks, check out Jason Alt’s column over on Gathering Magic with his 75% deck series.

With a new year and a new set coming out, I thought it would be good to actually start keeping track of my changes to my decks. I think it’s a very curious idea to see a deck evolve as time passes and as new cards become released. I have decks which have received total makeovers (Rafiq of the Many) and others which have seen little change since its inception (Borborygmos Enraged). I’ve got a spreadsheet somewhat put together but nothing where I’m at a finished point of how I want it to look (If you have a spreadsheet that you use for your decklists, I’d love to take a look at it and see how I can incorporate some different aspects of what people use).

I figured rather than talking about the complete goals of the project, I’ll show you some completed decklists. Up first are three that are up to date as of Fate Reforged. None of these received new cards from the set (really, only one main deck had any radical changes). I will consider each of these the “1.0” versions of the decks. You can take a look at the lists, and if there are any ideas that tickle your fancy, please use them in your own. I want this to be a reference for people looking for ideas with these Commanders or even what the format looks like in general. Continue reading

#CMDRFriday – Help Me Update a Deck

First off, I must say that our baby is doing well (See here if you don’t know what I’m talking about). She’s been out of the hospital for about 6 weeks, but with her feeding schedule and my increased responsibilities at work have curtailed my ability to write recently. But there’s a little wiggle room and I wish to bring both this blog and back. And we’re going to start off (semi)-easy here.

With every set I take a look at the new Legendary creatures and decide if I want to include any of them into my gauntlet of decks. I take some decks out and I add some in depending on what they do and if I like them, but I try and have a healthy collection of decks that I can play at any time. I’m a Johnny, I love to build decks. I need to keep a list of decks I have/want to create so I don’t go overboard. Maybe I still do. Now that Conspiracy’s five Legendary Creatures have been previewed, it’s time to update my collection. And here’s my current lineup:

See that 2:30 am time stamp? That wasn’t because I was just hanging out at night for fun.

Here’s how to read the photo:

  • Since BNG – Decks that have been updated through Born of the Gods
  • Since Theros – Decks that have been updated through Theros
  • Older than Theros – Decks that haven’t been updated with Theros cards
  • Unbuilt – Decks that are obviously unbuilt
  • Decommission – Old decks that I’m taking apart

Since our baby was born in late November I obviously haven’t been as focused into Commander. I need to update or build all of these decks. And this is where I would like some input from you.

What deck should I update first?

This is where it concerns you. If I have the deck built, I’ll update it through Conspiracy and walk through the steps of what I did and what choices I made. It’ll give you a little insight into some deckbuilding which I know that a portion of you readers like. Plus, it’ll be content, and I know that would be good for us all.

If you want some more information, here is a page from my spreadsheet documenting my quick thoughts for each deck (click for full size):

CNS Gauntlet Decklist


So vote and let me know what you think. I need to put the 3:00 am feedings to good use; I’ll ease back into the writing.

Starting a Commander Deck – Gahiji, Honored One

Gahiji, Honored One((Brushes dust off everywhere))

Hello. Is this thing still on?

Welcome, young and old, to the new 99CMDRProblems. Just so happens to be the old They both direct here now.

Anyway, I’m getting the itch to write about Commander again. With the new Commander 2013 decks coming out, I know that everyone is excited for them. To be honest, I’m more excited for this product than I was for Theros. Commander runs deep through my blood and it’s the only format I have at least one deck built for. But that’s the problem, as a Johnny, I want to build all the decks.

Building decks gives me greater pleasure than playing.

Finally, after deciding it wasn’t going to be manageable to build every deck possible, I mapped out what decks I actually would play. Rather than just a novelty deck that I could go “hey, that was fun” deck and take it apart, I came up with 18 decks. Obviously, there are more than 18 Commanders. So what to do with those spare ideas?  I was thinking, “Hey, I could create a Tumblr about this. Get some reblogs, and it could all be groovy.” Then I was like, “Wait, I have a Commander blog I can write on. Why don’t I do that instead?” And that’s how this ended up here instead of Tumblr. (It’s not that I don’t hate Tumblr, but this is most likely the best place for this style of column)

Once in a while (knowing my schedule and everything else going on), I’ll write a deck idea out here. Not the whole deck, mind you, but just enough to have something to start with. I still don’t like the idea of the full 99 down on paper and have people take that as the only way to do it, however a place to get people started with a certain Commander seems good to me. These aren’t going to be a complete primer of how to play the deck or anything, just how I would build the deck. There’s some train of thought thinking here and it’s really just the first draft of a deck; just enjoy the ride.

Enough about the backstory. You want the deck. Let’s get to it… Continue reading

Mint, in Box

Collecting stuff is pretty much an common theme when it comes to hobbies. In fact, CCG means collectable card games. I was raised on collecting baseball cards, and I’m not totally afraid to admit that I have played Pokemon once or twice (Only the old school Red/Blue on the original Gameboy). We, as humans, want to collect things.

But the funny thing about collectable card games is that they are games as well. You play games. Having a stack of baseball cards does nothing, as you can look at them through the plastic pages in your binder, but there’s nothing really that you can do with them. Magic, being a game, means that you can collect and play them at the same time. You can fill your decks with treasures that you open or trade for. That’s part of Magic’s appeal, you can do both.

Yesterday WotC released the newest From the Vault series where it’s all Legends. By having all 15 special foiled cards be Legends, we can use them to build our decks around. This naturally would be amazing for Commander since we love to pimp out our decks as much as possible. Personally, I’m not going to open my box.

This is a huge disappointment to me. I’m not trying to short the market by having fewer copies of the product around, I just don’t see the value in opening them up. I really wanted to play with these cards too, so it’s not like I’m trying to jump on a bandwagon here. With reasons I get into in my next GatheringMagic piece, I just don’t see this as a good meshing between the concepts. Not because I only have one of those Commanders in my Highlander Collective (We’ll get to that in September), but because I feel that WotC didn’t take full advantage of the situation.

The product was created to help bring back high level collecting to Magic. I’ve got some weird things in my Magic collection: unopened Mirrodin Besieged Faction packs, the old Duelist abacas counter, a print copy of The Sideboard from the Summer of 1998 and about 100 copies of Madrush Cyclops. Looks like I’ll be adding an unopened From the Vault: Legends, still in its white protective box, to that collection.

I wanted to have it to complete my collection of my FtV purchases. It’s not going anywhere. Right now it has the same play value as my Baseball cards.