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

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#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 mtgcolorpie.com 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.


The Complete Commander – Designing Commander

Complete Commander - CoverAuthor’s Note: Some of you don’t know this if you don’t follow me on Twitter or have read MTGColorPie.com. My daughter that was born 15 weeks early right before Thanksgiving so my attention turned to her and away from Magic (and especially from blogging) for a while. Luckily, is doing fantastic now. She’s still in the NICU and will be until sometime in March; she’s only 8 weeks old. Catherine is now over 3 pounds, which is up dramatically from her birth weight of 1 pound 5 oz. All she needs is more time and to gain more weight, but we’re on the right track. I’ll start posting on both sites again (because I didn’t want to just restart this blog for one post again), but it’ll be sparingly for a while. I wanted to tell you Commander fans about this as well which is why I crossed posted this post.

The exciting news coming out today is the release of Bennie Smith’s new Commander eBook: The Complete Commander. I was able to get an early copy of it, and it’s fantastic. If love Commander or want to get started, get this book. Bennie and MJ Scott did a wonderful job putting the book together and with all of the artwork from James Arnold (that awesome artwork you see on GatheringMagic.com) it just blows you away.

Do I want a hardcover of this book? Yes please.

What Bennie and MJ have done is gathered a ton of Commander related content and jammed it into this book. You want sample decklists? Done. How about strategy? In here too. Commander Deckbuilding 101? Got you covered. Maybe a little short story fiction? Right there with you. A glossary and a list of Commander staples? Yes, this book has everything.

And it’s $10. $10? That’s less than a booster draft. It’s criminal of you not to own it at that price.

But it’s not just Bennie’s words in this ebook. Just as Commander is a community format, this is a community book. There are a ton of players who have written in with their favorite Commander moments. Other members of the Commander community have written short stories, just like Star City Game’s Vorthos expert John Dale Beety. Gathering Magic’s Content Editor and Daily MTG’s Command Tower author Adam Styborski wrote the introduction. Level Five judge and “Godfather” of Commander Sheldon Menery wrote the foreward.

Oh, I wrote something as well.

To MTGColorPie.com to continue reading…


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


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.

None.


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.

Continue reading


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.

Continue reading