Category Archives: Commander

#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.


If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Not Doing It Right

If you’re curious about the whole “99 Problems” issue, I would direct you to my MTGCP post and Sean’s post describing the situation (To be fair to both sides). If you’re looking to comment about that, please keep it in one of those two areas, anything left on here will be heavily moded. This thing could go on forever if we let it, but my wife looked at me this week and made one simple observation:

“It doesn’t look like you’re having fun with your ‘hobby’.”

And she’s right, I wasn’t.

Writing about Magic isn’t a full time job for me, hence why posts on here and come at random times. I’ve now got a weekly series on Commander over at GatheringMagic if you want a normal weekly column. As anyone who has ever met me, or possibly even read some of my work, knows I’m not really normal. I write parodies of movies and put them as Magic characters/personalities; Aaron Forsythe has told me that it’s a little odd to see a fictional version of himself and tried to explain it to other people.

But this isn’t a blog about writings, or anything like that. This is a Commander blog, so let’s talk about Commander.

Continue reading

Fixing the Back of the Commander Boxes

A card that makes Pegasi? Count me in!

When I was opening up my Commander product boxes and getting out the new yummy cards, I noticed something disturbing on the back of the Counterpunch deck box.

Each of the decks have a blurb on the back of the box that quickly explains the format and what you can do with the deck. This is normal marketing stuff that you see with everything. But, one of the great things about Magic is that you can actually use the product to sell. If people aren’t seeing awesomeness with the large foil Commanders on the front, they can see what else might be in the deck by looking at the back. Let me set it up for you if you haven’t paid attention or haven’t picked up your Commander product yet.

On the right side there are seven cards from the deck. They all share a pattern: You’ve got all three wedge Commanders, the new enemy colored Commander, Sol Ring, and a new card and a reprint that only exclusive to this deck. The five you can’t change, nor should you, but I have to question the choices for the other two cards.

Now, seeing how you almost can’t find these anywhere at the moment, this argument almost becomes a moot point. After all, this is a product that could be packaged in a plain white box and people would still buy this in droves. This product is still going to be on the shelves a year from now like Planechase and Archenemy before that. Maybe some players who haven’t played in years are looking at what these cards do, or someone just getting started in Commander.

I would have to believe that Wizards did market research for this product and what I could be saying could be against all evidence. But even with the Johnny/Spike/Timmy model, there are some strange choices here. I’m going to look at each of them from the standpoint of selling the product. The obvious rule I should say is that I have to use existing cards from the deck, I can’t add or change those at all.

Continue reading

Commander Night at Card Kingdom

If you live in the Seattle area, and are free tonight, I would highly recommend heading to Card Kingdom to play some Commander. I helped start a Commander Night that had a successful launch two weeks ago with 18 people (not bad for a first time event). Now, this is something that Card Kingdom is doing every other week, so if you don’t make it this week, come out in two weeks on the 19th. I won’t be there this time because something about my wedding anniversary being tonight and Wife is putting her foot down not wanting me to go play cards.


(That was just a joke, ladies. I’ve said plenty of times I do pay a huge amount of love and affection to my wife, um, what’s her name.)

Anyway, the situation that we’ve got set up is very simple. We’re looking for casual decks and players who just want to have fun and come out. You’re gong to be put into Pods of 4 and play. At the moment, we don’t have a league going (only our second time around), and there’s no points system to keep track of yet. If people are interested in doing something like that, we can talk about doing it in the future. If you have Planechase or Archenemy and want to see if your pod’s interested bring those along too.

We all had a ton of fun last time and I got to meet some nice new people. It’s unsanctioned so you don’t need a DCI number to play and, hopefully, won’t find a bunch of Spikes trying to kill everyone early to try and get prizes. Speaking of prizes, there will be some given out randomly so there’s no need for your Hive Mind/Pact turn 4 combo deck. There were plenty of people wanting to play more games after the first round, it looked like the games went about 90-120 minutes, and plenty of trading opportunities.

This is a great place to try out the new Commander Deck you just bought or test out your re-worked deck against unsuspecting people. They follow the Official Commander banned list (Found here). The entry fee is $5, and that’s only to help pay for the staff overseeing it and for prizes. They’re going to start around 6:30, and you can give them a call to reserve a spot (206-523-9605). Get there early, or stay late to grab a bite to eat and a drink (if you legally can) at Cafe Mox. If you do go, let me know either here or on Twitter (@MTGColorPie) how everything went.

June 2011 Banned List Update – Welcome Back Worldgorger Dragon

Nom Nom Nom

Sheldon releases another one into the wild:

We don’t unban cards lightly, but it’s time for Worldgorger Dragon to get out of the penalty box. It is no longer a particularly strong example of unwelcome, format-warping, combo-play style, but simply another infinite-combo piece. Those applications are narrow enough that it should not cause problems for social players, and the type of player who wants to play this kind of infinite combo isn’t going to play a more fun deck because Worldgorger Dragon is available. Thus, since it’s a goal to keep the list as short as possible and focused on more fun-oriented games, we believe it can come off the list.

If you don’t know the combo, it’s Animate Dead enchanting the Worldgorger in your graveyard. The Dragon enters the battlefield exiling everything you own, including your Animate Dead. With the aura gone, the Dragon heads back to the graveyard returning everything back onto the battlefield untapped, including your Animate Dead. Then you target your Dragon again, but tap all your land for mana. Keep repeating until you get as much mana as you want (plus whatever enters the battlefield/leaves the battlefield effect) and do whatever you want with that mana.

While people were wishing the other Dragon would come off this list, I find this one to be somewhat acceptable. It’s not the only two card combo on the list: Lion’s Eye Diamond is also there. Is this a card I’m going to shove in any of my decks? Most likely not. If you’re playing this, I’m going after you.

The Banned list has been updated (as well as that bug issue where the Banned Commanders were showing up as banned in decks. I didn’t see that issue and it’s now fixed).