Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Going Commander: Decision, Decisions



Magic: The Gathering has evolved since Alpha hit the store shelves back in 1993. That's to be expected from a card game that's lasted over two decades and seems to be more popular than ever. While the continually growing & changing mechanics are the most obvious signs of the game's evolution, the different formats that have developed over time are as well. While each are interesting in their own way, I want to talk about one specific format today: Commander 

Previously known as "Elder Dragon Highlander" (EDH for short), Commander is primarily a casual format where players construct a 100 singleton (no more than one copy of any given card) deck that has a legendary creature (or specific planeswalkers) that acts as a "commander". When building your deck, you can only use cards who match the color identity of your commander. For example, you could only use Red & Blue cards if your commander was Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

I was introduced to Commander last year after I made my return to Magic. At first, I wasn't the biggest fan of it, feeling like it bred douchebaggery at every turn, especially since most Commander games have multiple participants. However, as time went on and I "played" (i.e., forced to play) more Commander games with different decks, I grew to enjoy it. It can be a blast when you're playing with a decently sized group, with players wealing, dealing, & backstabbing throughout the game. 

Since I've started enjoying Commander more and more, I figure it's finally time for me to build my own deck so I can stop borrowing a particular friend's decks. I know I want to build a deck around a specific theme, trying my hardest to stay with that theme throughout most of the cards. After some brainstorming, I've narrowed my options down to three concepts. Now, I just need to figure out which to keep and which to put back on the top of my library (a little Magic humor for ya). 

The first, and probably easiest concept for me to build, is a Red/White Aggro deck called the Boros Legion. The deck would use either Argus Kos, Wojeck Veteran or Tajic, Blade of the Legion as the commander. The reason why this would be the easiest deck for me to build is because I already own a lot of the cards that I'd probably put into it, also I'm pretty good at running Red/White Aggro decks. Also, the cards I don't have are pretty cheap, with most being under $2. 

The second concept would be a very different kind of deck. This one would be a Blue/Black Faeries deck called Oona's Dark Court. Obviously the commander would be Oona, Queen of the Fae, and it would probably focus on screwing my opponents over at each and every turn. While the cards are rather inexpensive, most are from Lorwyn & Shadowmoor, rather old blocks, so I'll have to track them down first. 

The final concept would be a Black/Green Treefolk deck entitled the Dark Heart of the Forest. I'd probably end up using Sapling of Colfenor as my commander. This one would probably be more about the flavor than what's actually good, and it'd have the same problem that Oona's Dark Court would have. 

Most likely, I'll end up making the Boros Legion for now due to the previously stated factors. However, I'm going to try and collect the cards I'll need for the other two and slowly piecemeal them over time because I'd like to have a few Commander decks to change things up every now and again. 

Do any of you play Commander? What's your current Commander deck if you do? Do you have a cool name for your Commander deck? I'd love to know.