Category Archives: Commander

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.

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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.

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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).

The Top 10 Proliferate Cards for Commander

Everybody and their mother now sees +1/+1 counters and other counters on a new card and they instantly go to everyone’s favorite new mechanic: Proliferate. So, here’s my list of the top 10 cards that have Proliferate for use in the Commander format. The way I wrote that, makes it sound like it was an Oscar category announcement.

Honorable Mentions:

Core Prowler –

Running into a 2/x creature would kill it. But it’s basically a wall or kills an opponent’s token as it just sits around waiting to be killed.

Grim Affliction –

Because let’s give one creature a -1/-1 counter. For 3 mana. Yeah, that’ll be amazing in Commander. (Yes, I know technically it would give 2 -1/-1 counters, but that still isn’t enough for 3 mana).

Thrummingbird –

Great in the early game when you have nothing to Proliferate. I want to see it get past my Dragon turn 6.

Steady Progress –

Well, at least it’s instant speed. It’s got that going for it, which is nice.

And now, the Top 10:

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26 Scars Block Foil Cards You’ll Want a Year From Now*

*Obviously we’re going to ignore the Commanders.

Yes, I’m back. For the full story, come back Friday.

It’s Something Unpredictable, But in the End It’s Right

If you ever went to one of those end of the year school assemblies, you might recognize the title from a certain song’s lyrics. I’m just partly wondering if they even do this song anymore, or if its too old for today’s generation.

Yes, as of today, I’m not looking to create original content for

Don’t don’t be sad, it’s not all bad news. Here’s some possible questions that you might have:

Really? Why are you shutting this blog down?

If you’ve noticed that there has be little content on this blog recently. It’s not because I don’t love you guys. I just can’t create content for this blog as often as I’d wish.

So, you’re not writing about Magic anymore?

Whoa, that’s not true at all. For those that don’t know, I started the blog (hence my name), years before this one. After I started to fall in love with EDH/Commander, I started another blog (where you’re currently at) about the format. So, for over a year, I was managing 2 blogs about two separate Magic topics at the same time, where this one accepted user content as well. That’s when a new variable entered into my life:

I’ve been writing for ManaNation about EDH/Commander.

For those keeping track, I’m also writing for part time on and in discussion to write for another website for which I can’t talk about just yet. MTGColorPie is continuing as well (a new post should come in the next day or two for those that are wondering). As I’m planning out articles and topics, 99EDH was the one that always got shafted because of the overlap with ManaNation. Anything I would want to write for this site kept getting pushed back and put in the pile “I’ll get to it next week.” When people asked where I wrote, this blog was starting to get left out of my locations. Not because I didn’t love it, it was just getting too much to keep track of. I didn’t want to write about Commander for ManaNation and then do the same thing for this blog as well. I had been holding back in both places afraid to step on toes.

And I’m afraid it was hurting my work.

Now I won’t hold anything back for when I write for ManaNation.

But the other thing good for you is that except for a break when I was on the Magic Cruise, I’m writing every week over there. You were lucky to get one every other week on here. That’s great for you, since you’re actually getting content on a regular basis, and great for me, since I won’t feel like I’m trying to spread things too thin. Because you’re getting my Commander thoughts there, this blog has really become redundant.

But what about stuff like Stone Cold Commander of the Century (Of the Week)?

I’ve got a ton of ideas. I don’t have the time nor the energy to do them all. I thought that I could do something fun and easy to keep this blog going. We know how well that went. So, I’m taking my talents to ManaNation where I might be talking about things like that every once in a while. SCCotC(OtW) seems like a nice thing I might tack onto the end of posts every once in a while, so it’s not going to disappear.

What happens to this site?

I’ve paid for the domain name until later in the year. I’m not deleting this blog at all so if you keep coming back here you’ll find the same stuff. I was struck earlier this year about how has now gone down and is gone for us forever. While I may or may not keep the domain name, I’m keeping the blog up for reference.

Listen, I’m not saying that stopping this blog this is a bad thing. This blog has helped launch my work for and Derfington’s at with both of us writing about Commander. You’re still getting Commander content, it’s just not going to be here.

I hope you guys understand that, and respect that. It’s been great giving you my thoughts on this blog, I wish you’re with me for the next step at where I’m continuing the adventure.

Thank you for the fun times at

Stone Cold Commander of the Century (Of the Week) – Mannichi, the Fevered Dream

New year has come and gone. Let’s get you caught up. This is still happening. Even though I moved my Commander posts over to ManaNation (articles here), I finally figured out what to do with this blog. What’s going to appear here:

  • Reviews of Sets. Unless Trick wants anything in particular, I think I’ll keep them over here. Yes, Derfington did a great job last time but I’ll work time into my busy schedule to work it in (hopefully). Did you know Derfington’s writing about Commander on QuietSpeculation? (articles here) Yep, we be spreading out.
  • Talking about upcoming Commanders. Yes, Glissa 2.0 has been revealed and I’ll get to that shortly (before Mirrodin Besiged gets released). Again, not as long, but that will be the focus.
  • Random things. I want to do some charts on this site, such as what you can tutor up with Trinket Mage, etc. All in due time.
  • And now, introducing today’s column, once a week.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you the “Stone Cold Commander of the Century (Of the Week)”. Where does this come from?

Yes, an Adult Swim video about football with Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Listen, I know I’m not the only one that loves MTG, and football, and Adult Swim (but I don’t like ATHF, don’t like the humor). And, I may be the one or two that love the “Charlie Whitehurst in a living nativity scene” joke, but we’re rolling with it. After all, I live in the Seattle area, and I still haven’t lived down the excitement of Lynch going full on “Beast Mode” to seal the game.

Alright, enough Football talk. Yes, you’re getting a weekly column where I write some notes about a Commander chosen randomly from Yes, completely random (only I won’t repeat them if I’ve done them in this context before). Hope this will give you some good ideas for decks if you’ve been thinking about building around them. If you already have, make your comments below about what you’ve done with him/her.

And yes, this is all completely random. You have seen who the Commander is in the title, but as of this I have no idea. Ready?

Oh, fun.

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December 2010 Commander Bannings

Editor’s Note: While I haven’t written on here since the big change in the format, it will be addressed. I have talked about it over on ManaNation, and eventually they will be linked over here. But now is not the time nor the place for that discussion.

Good news, everyone!

The scourge of all that is unfun in EDH/Commander is finally over. Yes, let’s take a look at the announcement and bask in all of it’s glory:

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

This is one on which we listened heavily to what the community was saying, and nearly without exception, everyone hates Emrakul. It’s a card that makes the game devolve into a war over a single card whenever it hits the table. Add to that the fact that its combination of abilities made is seriously unfun to play against. We had already had our eye on it, and when the community spoke, we listened.

Ding dong the witch is dead, the witch is dead.

Alright, seriously. For the two of you that are crying about this move (don’t worry, you’ll like the other announcement then), Emrakul was a bad card for EDH. It’s unfun and it was practically the only card you had to prepare yourself against in any metagame. “But there are ways to get rid of it!” Yes, But with the culmination of all of it’s abilities, it was just too unfun for 99.9% of EDH players. It could go in any deck, which made it worse. For my GDS2 entry, it was that one card I said shouldn’t have been printed because it was unfun. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Be glad it’s gone so we can focus on the next bit of news:

Color Identity (which will be added to the Magic Comprehensive Rules)

Rule #2 is amended as follows:
When building a Commander deck, the mana symbols in the text box are just as important as those in the cost of a card. The Commander’s color identity restricts what cards may appear in the deck.

* The color identity of a card is the colors of all mana symbols on the card, along with any color defined by a characteristic-defining ability (CDA) in the card’s rules text.

* Cards in your deck may not have any colors in their color identity not shared by your Commander.

* Mana you produce of colors that are not in your Commander’s color identity is colorless instead.

* Mana symbols in reminder text are not part of color identity.

The major impact here is that there are a few Legendary Creatures who no longer invalidate themselves as Commanders: Memnarch, Bosh, Iron Golem, Thelon of Havenwood, Daughter of Autumn, and Rhys, the Exiled. It means that you can have these creatures as Commanders, and you can generate mana of their color identity (so if you’re playing Memnarch, you can generate blue mana, or if you’re playing Thelon, you can generate black and green).

The RC spends quite some time considering the needs of the format itself and the voices of the format’s player base, making an effort to strike the balance that while keep the format strong and healthy for a long, long time.

While it’s great that they’re finally listening to us, here’s the big deal: Finally you can play with the Generals/Commanders he mentioned (All of the ones are in the picture above). So, while you players lose Emrakul, you can now play with Memnarch (I’m finally glad that Tolarian Academy is banned). Basically all of the other rules are the same, only that color now applies to mana symbols in the entire card. Some other changes:

  • Transguild Courior is now only legal in 5 color decks (it also means it’s now a 5 color Pauper Commander).
  • The Kobolds are now Red decks only (if you really wanted to put them in a deck for a combo or something).

Apparently color identity doesn’t mean the card is changing colors, but just the overall feel of it. I got a little excited with some of my ideas, but was cooled down by the Twitter crowd. Make note of this people.

Putting on my MTGCP Magic designer cap, what this means can be very exciting in the future. If you noticed, there hasn’t been too many Legendary Creatures that have been printed off-color recently. Why? Because they couldn’t be used as Generals/Commanders and a large part of WotC guys play EDH/Commander. Why print something if players couldn’t use them in that format? So, I guarantee that in the future there will be off-color Legends that will be printed. Why? No idea, but that opens up a whole lot of design space to play around in.

So, tell all your friends about this change. Knowledge is power. These rules take effect December 20th. The EDH/Commander Banned List has been updated.

Weekend Commentator Diversion – Do You Play Commander on MTGO?

Click for full size madness

Up until recently, I hadn’t played Magic Online (MTGO). For various reasons I won’t get to now (It’ll go up on my other blog, I kinda stayed away. Finally a couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge. While I don’t play everyday online, it does give me a chance to play when I wouldn’t normally (which is the appeal of it).

Long story short, I’m using it mostly for drafting and playing Commander, which is the MTGO equivalent of EDH. I’m still getting the hang of it, but as you can see from the picture on the right, screen real estate is a very valuable thing here; sometimes I wonder why I play on my laptop if people are playing 500 tokens and whatnot.

At the moment, I bought the UWG Commander decklist and have been drafting and buying cards through the bots online. I think I have an alright decklist thrown together (was lucky to open several Revised Duals in the ME/ME2/ME3 drafts a few weeks back) but it’s still a work in progress.

So, for the topic for this weekend/whenever (because people are still chiming in on the other one, which I think is great, continue to do so): Do you play Commander on MTGO? Yes, no, what’s your favorite part, what do you hate, etc? Do you have any advice for people starting out or thinking about getting online? If you don’t play MTGO, is there anything that would get you convinced to try?

BONUS: I know that this blog has been lagging a little big, a combination of work and, well, look at the topic, has gotten me a little off track. New posts are currently being written, but I also what to hear from you guys what would you like to see on this site? Is it more decklists, is it strategy, is it theory? I mean I’ve got a ton of ideas (Single card strategies, a best of color/card type segment, etc), but this is about you guys. What would you like to see on here?

So comment about one or both. Remember, if you haven’t commented on this site before I need to approve it (it keeps out the spam), and I try to do that as quickly as possible to keep the conversation going.

If you’re curious, my name on MTGO is: mtgcolorpie. Find me, friend me (is that how it works?), and we can play sometime.