Category Archives: Magic: the Gathering

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 EDHRec.com 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.

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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.

Notes:

  • 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 MTGCommander.net 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)


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 99EDHProblems.com. 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


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

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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 MTGColorPie.com 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!

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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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SOM EDH General Review – Geth, Lord of the Vault

Certainly not Lord of the Dance

A few days ago, Doug Beyer (who always gets the Legends. Why? He’s a Flavor guy) finally brought to us a missing Legend from the last time we were on Mirrodin. We had Geth’s Grimoire, and that’s it. Hey, Completetis what to know all about him (and have most likely read the novels and know a little more).

If you read that post, you can find out that his undead head was attached to a Phyrexian body and, wow, really? I thought it was because of all the steroids. Maybe they were influenced by Dr. Quinn’s Robot chainsaw hands. Who makes this stuff up? Oh yeah, the flavor guys. I think it’s time for their monthly CAT scan WotC.

Alright. On to Geth, who just so happens to be the second Mono-Black Mythic General with evasion to be revealed in the first week of previews. Let’s see what he has in common with his little book.

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SOM EDH General Review – Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

I dare you to say his name three times fast

With the release of Scars of Mirrodin about a month away, it’s about that time to start seeing previews of this new (hopefully) exciting set. Like always, I don’t talk about a card on here unless it’s been officially previewed or is on the DailyMTG.com visual spoiler (at the time of this printing, that wasn’t up).

Today, Mark Rosewater decided to show us a really awesome General. As you can see it’s a Dragon, the first Dragon General that’s been released since the start of this blog. There was some question if Poison was going to be relevant in EDH and today I think we go our answer. Plus, even if he didn’t deal with Poison, I’d still think he’d be great. Maybe not that Mythic rarity, but still a pretty good dragon.

Oh, and I’m not writing Skithiryx a hundred times; I’m calling him Blighty.

As with everything, if you don’t want to actually spoil anything for the set, I would recommend not to read past here, though again, I’m only talking about cards that have been officially previewed.

So, let’s meet Blighty.

Continue reading