Category Archives: EDH

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

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.

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).