How you SHOULD be playing EDH

03 Feb

Disclaimer #1: Pretty much everything I say here should be taken with several large buckets of salt. Normally when I’m making posts like these I’ll say things like “I think” and “some people” and I’ll at least try to represent the other side of the argument. Not here, and not today. I feel pretty strongly about this subject, which in and of itself is unusual, and so what I’m about to say is opinionated and preachy and downright arrogant in parts.

Disclaimer #2: Although I’ve tried to keep this as general as possible, by which I mean I’m talking about the EDH/Commander community as a whole, my personal experience comes from games within my playgroup. I’m a big fan of my playgroup; I think they’re a pretty awesome bunch of guys and girls, and they are a large part of why I’m such a big fan of EDH. However, since it’s the only group I play with, any examples I have here will have to come from them, for which I apologise for singling them out – however, the examples used here are indicative of the problems I see/read about in the wider community.

Disclaimer #3: I’ve written, edited, re-written, and re-edited this damn thing for about 2 weeks now. It’s a little fragmented as a result. I still think it makes all the points I wanted to make, but not really in the way I wanted to make them. I know people are waiting for this (I have no idea why…) so this is what you’re gettin.

If you want a less ranty version of what I’m about to write, check out Mr P’s latest; Mr P Hates Everything

So what’s the big issue here?

You’re Playing EDH Wrong.

Let’s just get this out there right now; it is NOT the purpose of EDH to win! If you build your EDH decks to handle a table of other players, grind out a victory, and win game after game after game, you’re playing the wrong goddamned format. Sure, your deck has to have a way to deal 40 to multiple players (or whatever your wincon of choice is), but if that’s entirely what you’re focussed on, you’re missing the point.

EDH is not about having answers for everything and making sure that your position is so completely secure that is doesn’t matter what the other players do to you. In fact, if you’re playing EDH properly, you don’t even care about your opponents except as targets for your fun and interesting shenanigans!

  • If your deck is based around controlling the entire table so only you have stuff to play with, you’re a dick and your deck is not fun and you’re doing it WRONG
  • If your deck is based around do nothing do nothing do nothing do nothing, play infinite combo and kill everyone, you’re doing it WRONG
  • If your deck consistently blows up everyone’s lands, or makes them all discard their hands, or counters every meaningful spell played (BONUS dickhead points if you do it with some kind of buyback spell) your deck SUCKS DONKEY BALLS and I will never play it again. (“Nice game, you win, got another deck?”)
  • If you have just played Draining Whelk, Yosei, Primeval Titan, Avenger of Zendikar, or Time Stretch for the fourth time in a game, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG
  • If you spend more time playing with yourself than interacting with the other players on the table (via combat, tricks, counters, abilities) go and rent some Magic Porn – I assume such a thing exists – and don’t waste my time.

Now I can see two immediate objections to my 100% true and correct statements above (accept no substitutes).

Pathetic Pointless Objection Number the First

“Of course I’m supposed to win – why would I build a deck that doesn’t win?”

Go play Legacy or Vintage then. Besides which, good on you for missing my point. Winning is SECONDARY in EDH to having fun and doing cool things. There’s a BIG difference between 1) laying down moderate threat after moderate threat, ensuring you don’t overextend, dealing with any large threats your opponents play and winning 28 turns later, and 2) playing Concordant Crossroads + a bunch of big fat fatties, and swinging until people stop moving (and even then, swing some more to make sure). Which leads me to:

Stupid Brainless Objection the Second

“You’re telling me to play bad decks!”

Bullshit. Stop putting words in my mouth. I’m telling you to start playing interesting decks. If I’m able to name over half your deck after you tell me who your General is, I’m not interested in playing against it. I’ve played against that deck (or teeny tiny little variations of it) a thousand times already, and I’m OVER IT. There are 12,000 Legacy-legal cards in Magic; you’re telling me that you can’t find 60 or so cards that do what you want them to do, without resorting to shutting your brain off and putting in Prime Time because, well, he’s just so good (pathetic whiny voice)?

Addendum to SBOtS:

“You’re telling me to play bad cards! Why would I play <x> when <y> is so clearly better!” Really? You think EDH is a format about playing the best cards printed?… Lemme go find a quote for you:

variant format which emphasises social interactions, interesting games, and creative deckbuilding

–, main page, emphasis added by me.

Goddamn it I can’t find the quote I wanted; it was Sheldon – the guy who practically invented the format, and the guy who knows it better than most – saying that EDH is a format about the forgotten cards, the weird, wonderful and wacky interactions, and the format where every second card you play is greeted by “what the hell does that even DO?!”.

I’m drifting off course again. Let me quote something else from the website:

predicated on a social contract: a gentleman’s agreement which goes beyond these rules to includes a degree of interactivity between players.

–, “philosophy” page, emphasis added by me, again

The very best decks in competitive formats may have some degree of interaction, but generally speaking they’re designed so it doesn’t matter what you do, they’re going to do their thing, and there isn’t anything you can meaningfully do but try and win before they do. (Incidentally, do I bonus interweb points for using they’re, their, and there all in the same sentence?) EDH is not such a format – you should be playing risky, you should be letting people do crazy shit, and you should ride the wave of awesomeness to see where it crashes onto the rocks of, uh, some rocky place.

EDH is about craziness. EDH is about variance. EDH is about seeing cool combos, obscure cards, and strange synergies. The absolute worst thing that can happen to you in an EDH game is that you get knocked out. So what? You don’t lose ratings points. You don’t lose out on prizes. No one is going to suddenly think you suck at the Magics.

I tell you what though – I’m playing this game to enjoy myself. I enjoy myself by seeing some dumb combo (see: Essence of the Wild + Pollenbright Wings) come together. I enjoy myself by seeing what card I’m going to draw next. I enjoy myself by smashing into the redzone with OVER 9000 power of creatures and seeing what happens.

Which brings me to the next stupid point someone will inevitably bring up:

I have to play answers!

Well my very first response to that is “Do you?!” But I guess, at some level, yes you do. Just don’t play a deck FULL of them. I had an interesting experience last week during my games – I played with, and against, two different mono-blue decks. One of them (nominally Sakashima), that I played against, played Crawl Space, Propaganda, counterspells, and I don’t know what else, because it died first. It generally did nothing (not helped by being land-screwed) but the few things it did do annoyed the rest of the table so much that it was pretty much targetted until it stopped twitching. The other deck, that I played, was Uyo. It played Ambassador Sphinx, Arcanis the Omnipotent, and Myojin of Seeing Winds. It had a great time copying the Asuza deck’s Cultivates and Harrows, searching through the Momir Vig’s deck (with the Sphinx) landing a Vigor and a Psychosis Crawler. It also played counterspells, but only a few, and only to counter things that were literally Game-Ending (in one play it copied Tooth and Nail with entwine from Azusa, fetching Venser and some other guy. Another time it Counterspelled a Rude Awakening). That deck actually did things and was one of the last to get knocked out. It was a blast to play!

Yes, you need to play answers. But if you START your deck with 25 cards that deal with problems, then you’re just doing it wrong. Your deck should DO SOMETHING first, and handle other people’s decks second.

I have one more thing to rant about, (two, really but they’re related) and then I’m done. Those two things are;

Tutors and Recursion

The reason I lump these together is because they do the same thing; get you the spell you want, when you want it. I can hear the complaints now – “But that’s a good thing!” they scream. “You want me to do cool stuff, well, these let me do cool stuff!”

First of all, let’s think for just a second. Be completely honest here – do you tutor for Sphinx of the Steel Wind, or for Damnation? For Future Sight, or Draining Whelk? In my experience, tutors are used to go get answers, not threats. Likewise, recurring things (out of the graveyard, usually, but bouncing your own permanents to your hand also counts) is usally done to STOP another player, and not to further your own cause. It (was) called Highlander for a reason! Part of the allure – a LARGE part of the allure of the format – is the variance caused by the one-of restriction. “Put more graveyard hate in” is a common answer to decks which constantly cast the same cards out of the graveyard, but that misses the point. You should – to borrow a phrase from Sheldon Menery – Embrace the Chaos and see what happens. If you’re casting the same spells every game, or over and over again in the same game (Karador probably excepted from this…. since he’s been designed that way), you’re not doing it right. One of the biggest drawcards to the format for me is that each game, with the same deck plays differently. Perhaps not overall – my Kitsune Mystic deck will always cast lots of enchantments – but in the specifics – it will more than likely get different enchantments every single game.

Basically, my message comes down to this:


There is NOTHING riding on the outcome of these games. It doesn’t MATTER if you lose. Concentrate on doing cool things, in as many different ways as you can think of doing them, and you just might accidentally find that EDH is the funnest format you’ve ever played in. I know I do – when I’m not struggling to play my own deck against some boring fuck who’s intent on stopping me from doing anything….


EDIT: Well this is interesting….

Over on mtgsalvation today, Sheldon has posted a couple of times (which is unusual even in and of itself) where he has said:

I’m hoping there’s a class of cards that aren’t banned which people for the most part choose to not play (Vicious Shadows comes to mind)

to which the obvious question was asked (“Why do you say that?”). His reply is MOST interesting:

VShad is an example a of card that you play if all you want to do is win games–at which I’ll concede it’s horribly effective–but not the kind of card you play in a friendly game

(first comment here, second one here)

While I don’t necessarily agree with the specific example (I personally think Vicious Shadows is fine), the implication is he thinks playing to win (only) is not the correct way of thinking, much as I do. I consider myself completely vindicated 🙂


Posted by on February 3, 2012 in EDH/Commander


Tags: , , ,

29 responses to “How you SHOULD be playing EDH

  1. Joe

    February 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Nice post. It’s really not my place to tell people what fun is because everyone has their own idea of what’s fun but this is pretty close to how I feel about the game. I play EDH because it’s fun as all hell. My playgroup had a game in which two Genesis Waves were played and that game just went into a whole different level of insanity. Everyone was rolling around laughing and because of that it’s still spoken of to this day. The favorite plays tend to be the one’s that you show the guy next to you that you’re going to do before your turn so they end up laughing the entire time until you drop that Crescendo of War onto a table with a Sliver deck, a Ghave token deck, a Stonebrow tramply deck, and a Vampire tribal deck just to watch the world burn. (True story, I did that just last night lol)

    I have no problem with lightning fast cutthroat games that involve combo-ing out as fast as possible, but there’s a time and a place for that. When people try that kinda that or they try to lock the entire table out when the playgroup they’re playing with is more casually-oriented, it’s rather uncool. I can respect wanting to play EDH their way, but they have to respect how the rest of the group wants to play. To many people, EDH is a game of fun. It’s about shenanigans on an epic scale. Those are the games that I have the most fun with. There are multiple formats (Legacy, Vintage, Modern, Standard) that are build around winning as quickly and as efficiently as possible and that’s okay. EDH, however, is built around group fun. Fun is defined many different ways, but it should always been kept in mind when sitting down to a table full of Commander crazies.

  2. Gene Taylor

    February 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    “If I’m able to name over half your deck after you tell me who your General is, I’m not interested in playing against it.”

    So you dislike linear general based decks?

    • Viperion

      February 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      That’s not what I said, neither is it what I meant. I meant exactly what I said. I have a Kaalia deck; it is a linear general based deck. As far as I know, it runs many cards that other, “better” Kaalia decks don’t run.

      I run a Mayael the Anima deck. It is a linear general based deck (mostly). It definitely doesn’t run a lot of the “best” cards in those colours.

      Don’t read things into the post that aren’t there. I mean exactly what I say.

      • Gene Taylor

        February 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

        You said you dislike decks that you can name most of when you hear the general. For the point I think you are wanting to make you should have said the color combination of the general. From hearing that the decks general is Kaalia you know exactly what the deck is going to be doing, what cards it is going to be running. This is more or less true for a number of generals, to highlight the obvious there is just one omnath deck.

        Ill post a more meaty response the bulk of post in due course.

        • Viperion

          February 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

          There is not just one Omnath deck; or if there is it sure as hell isn’t the one I’m running. In fact every other deck I can find uses Omnath as a mana store for Tooth and Nail, Woodfall Primus, Avenger, Vorinclex, Terastodon and Kamahl (and friends), – none of which are in my build – not the General Damage version that my one is.

          I submit my Kaalia deck again since you are using it for an example. It’s almost evenly split between Demons, Dragons and Angels, which apparently is the wrong way to build it. I suggest that if you had not played against it, you wouldn’t be able to name half of it.

          There are a couple of points I’d like to make here though, one of which I probably should have made in the article, and one of which is directed at you in particular:

          1) I understand that people want to play good decks, which means good cards. I’m not saying don’t play good cards, but I am saying that you should put more thought into it than “card (x) is good, I’ll put it in”. I’m also not saying that my decks (or my deckbuilding style) are better than anyone else’s; simply that I’m getting a lot tired of “oh look it’s the Top 50 list again” decklists that are around on mtgcommander and mtgsalvation, and occasionally pop up in our group.

          2) I think it’s blindingly obvious from our current Facebook conversation and previous conversations we’ve had that our approach to EDH is significantly different from a philosophical perspective – what I’m trying to point out in this article, not that I’m expecting anyone’s opinions to actually change, is that the attitude of “play the best cards, always” does not belong, and has never belonged, in this particular format.

  3. Sam

    February 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Just read this. Am halfway out 90 Mile Beach. Agree with most of it.

  4. Gene Taylor

    February 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Fyi I agree with you comments about just playing the best cards, just jamming the best cards of the colors you general happens to be is not how EDH/commander decks should be built, it certainly is not how I go about building mine.

    My biggest problem I have with this post is that it is attempting to set about the ‘correct’ way of playing EDH. Is there a correct way of playing magic? Magic is far to broad a game for there to be a single correct way of playing magic (although empirical evidence does suggest it involves islands). Magic is a pretty broad tent that attracts a pretty broad group of people to play it. And these people play the game for a variety of reasons. There is not just one magic player, there is the johnny, timmy, spike, melvin and vorthos. Each of those psychographics approaches the game for a different reason. As a subset of magic as a whole, EDH attracts the same variety of people and their approaches.

    What you are saying here cuts across all of this, you are promoting your vision of the format that emphasizes what you like about it while being harsh towards what is ‘doing it wrong’. No one (but Sheldon Menery) has authority to say what is and is not playing EDH correctly. This is a community driven format and the community as a whole decide what the gentleman’s agreement consists of.

    If I too am permitted to quote the philosophy section of the commander website (my emphasis)

    Commander is designed to promote social games of magic.

    [b] It is played in a variety of ways, depending on player preference [/b], but a common vision ties together the global community to help them enjoy a different kind of magic.

    • Viperion

      February 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      you are promoting your vision of the format that emphasizes what you like about it while being harsh towards what is ‘doing it wrong’. No one (but Sheldon Menery) has authority to say what is and is not playing EDH correctly

      I thought I had provided enough proof to demonstrate that my vision of the format is the same as Sheldon’s.

      Besides which, if I had to put “(IMO)” after everything I write, it would create very long and boring posts (IMO)

      Of course everything I write here is only an opinion (mine), and of course you’re entitled to your own. (IMO)

      It’s just that people who want to WIN a game of EDH are doing it wrong. (IMO)

      • Gene Taylor

        February 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm

        There is a big difference between building a deck than wins and building a deck that wins at all costs. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win a game of EDH in and of itself, the issue is when people start trading other things for the ability to win, dreativity,interactivity etc.

  5. murkymercy

    February 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Decks that don’t try to win games are the turbonothing decks that you hate playing against. Landing fattys and swinging is a pretty obvious trying to win the game play. Winning at all costs in EDH is pointless but I find it pretty pointless to just swing big dumb creatures into each other, this is why I don’t play my Azusa deck often. Any deck that has a wall of counters or wraths is going to be boring to play against, then again any deck that goes fat, fat, fat is boring to play against as well. But then again, I do hate magic 😛

  6. Sam

    February 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

    So back home now and have had a good re-read and think about this post.

    I should say that I am from Viperions play group so have a point of view also coloured by our experiences.

    Generally I agree – EDH is the format that I look to for playing with lots of random cards and playing super expensive or 5-colour spells.
    One of the “traps?” I fall into is making decks that simply draw a heap of cards – for some reason thats something I enjoy. Recently I have put some cards that work well with drawing cards into aforementioned decks. Point is these decks werent tight card advantage decks, just decks that drew a lot…

    That said, I have definetly got the decks with the 50 best cards etc. I would like to think that was in response to losing lots to the same cards which drove me to build decks that wouldnt always lose to those cards. Now this is obviously a viscious circle that will not end well.

    I think that our playgroup at least think that we self-police. Cards that are obviously over-powered in most of our games and/or annoying as hell will not played – well thats what we think. However I was writing the above sentence and thinking about such cards – and in fact they mostly still get played. Sure, individuals might re-build decks after a bit or switch decks but in most games people will be playing such cards. People lose to these cards and then decide well screw it I am going to get some of that – why should “they” get all the fun.

    I have not actually defined the above cards either, and this is a related issue. One mans obnoxious card is another mans perfectly valid card. Primeval Titan – great ramp, small fatty, perfectly fine OR card which generates amazingly one sided early game advantage to one player. Lurking Predators – ongoing free creatures OR 30% chance of a creature per spell that also draws lots of hate. Demonic Tutor – un-interesting choice of card to get something to ruin someone elses game OR your way to get a terror so that Lhurgoyf doesnt kill you. Buyback counter spell – only way for a mono-blue deck to piss everyone off OR one of many ways for mono-blue deck to piss everyone off (Ok so thats not so un-biased a description).

    Enough. You get the point. People in our group, and in most I suspect, do not agree about what is nice to play and what isnt. Some players take a lot of enjoyment in spoiling peoples game by countering, stealing, and destroying their stuff. Personally, I dont. I will kill/counter/steal stuff if I think it will stop me playing my game or is rapidly going to win (an even then sometimes its just better to let them win). I guess the other extreme is leave everyone alone and just interact with combat – thats just not fun sorry.

    To try summarise this huge post – I think compromise and actually realising where each player in a play group sits on these issues will help. If you know that two players in the four player game love stealing crap – maybe play a deck that plays no creatures OR ask them for this game to try playing a different deck? Suggesting people change their style and that yours is the right way wont work – as much as we might like it too! At the same token your opponents have to make an effort to if they want to keep playing surely. Perhaps they could look at playing and/or building a different deck? How about building a deck that is just about fatties instead of all control and counters? The other thing is to actually pick a deck with the current group playing in mind. This is not a dig at anyone in particular but deck choice will definitly affect game enjoyment in our play group at least.

  7. Thaumaturge

    February 11, 2012 at 11:40 am


    Just wanted to let you know that I read this and have been mulling it over for a few days. I’m not quite ready to formally respond yet. There are a long of brilliant points here that I agree with on principle, but yet there are a lot of nitpicky details I take umbrage with.

    I’m trying to formulate a response that is actually meaningful and worth saying – because so much of what you’re arguing here is SUBJECTIVE, i.e. open to personal taste and interpretation, but their are fundamental aspects at work here that are more OBJECTIVE.

    Debating “fun” is, frankly, pointless and stupid. It’s a subjective quality, so it cannot be discussed, debated or defined in objective terms. To me, then it is a waste of breath to engage in such an argument. So, I am trying to find the points that are more or less objective, and try and build on those points.

    Anyway, it’s obviously a good post, because it does clearly require some thought to properlly assimilate and address. As I said, I’ve been going back and forth on it for a few days, so that’s always a good sign.

    • Viperion

      February 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Brilliant? I think you overestimate me, sir 😛

      I usually don’t write in a “I’m right, you’re wrong” frame of reference but in this case I just see so many people viewing the format completely differently from how it was envisaged, and something inside me finally snapped 😉 Of course, like all other rants on the internet, this one can safely be ignored too. I just wanted to get my vision out there, and tell the folks at home how they’re turning it into something it was never meant to be; honestly, if you want to build lean controlly decks of doom with old cards, there are not one but two sanctioned formats for you to Spike it up in. Leave this one alone 🙂

      Keen to hear what you’ve got to say though – whether you post it here or on the Command Zone I’ll catch it 🙂

  8. Antti Lax

    February 21, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Just a random thought: Why do you feel that decks that try to pull of things like infinite combo is doing things wrong? I can understand how playing against someone who does nothing until he pulls of the combo can be annoying and “not fun”.

    I personally haven’t played EDH yet, but I have a deck that I’ve been using for our casual “no-format” style of games and in its heart it has always been “the Niv-Mizzet deck”. Not necessarily relying on infinite combos, but certainly aiming for them has been (as a “For the Lulz combo-player”) a big goal for me. Having multiple combos to pull off has been useful and the deck has been about thinking creatively. So in my opinion, using infinite combos is not necessarily “doing it wrong”.

    • Viperion

      February 21, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Because playing against someone who does nothing until he pulls off the combo is annoying and not fun? 😉

      I think you answered your own question. EDH is not a format where you play with yourself for 5-10 turns and then suddenly realise that everyone else is dead. It’s a social format, about interaction between players. If (for example) your RUG deck goes Ramp, Ramp, Ramp, Tooth and Nail entwined for Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite, you’re playing a bad singleton Legacy deck, not EDH.

  9. Antti Lax

    February 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Fair enough, I understand your point. I just slightly disagree with the fact that infinite combos themselves are the source of Doing It Wrong, but rather it is about how they are used and how the deck is constructed. Even with a decks that have combos might have some ways to interact with other players and being fun.

    Let me give you an example of how things work in my point of view. Let’s concider Niv-Mizzet ( Just giving him Curiosity ( is enough to pull of a infinite combo to shatter everything.

    But rather than rely on such a “cheap trick”, I’d rather pull off something like this: Eye of the Storm (​rav/en/48.html) + Mindmoil (​rav/en/135.html) + Windfall (​cmd/en/70.html). Gaining mana can then be achieved by Inner Fire ( Technically this isn’t even an infinite combo, but just a trick to go through my deck while doing some damage. And still think this is something that I find more intriguing than just pinging everything to death with Curiosity-Mizzet.

    This might be kinda irritating to play against with lots of card drawing and decision making. But I think that it is still more interesting and more fun to play against than just waiting for the “perfect combo to win everything”. And as a plus side, the opponents can also enjoy the Storm 🙂

    But that is just a one example of a thing I like to use. It may or may not be Doing It Right, but at least I have explained why I feel that it is different from just “Playing it Solo”.

  10. Trix

    April 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I don’t see anything bad in having different kind of EDH decks, as every playgroup is different. The one I’m playing in myself has taken it’s way towards the infinites and sometimes very nasty decks and generals. But as we all love the game as much as we like to have a tuned decks pitted against each other, we somewhat resolved this dilemma by adapting a bit varied format in the addition of normal EDH. We build decks only from commons, taking generals from either common or uncommon creatures, not just legendaries. It’s been fun looking the same cards in a bit different light when trying to find good cards in those decks. Also five different mono decks in pentagram game is just completely awesome.

    I think it’s good to remember that the games are only as fun as the strongest players/decks make it to be. If there’s someone playing a dickmoves.dec and the other three players go all out on him, is that a good way to resolve the situation? Maybe talk about it? I’m not specifically saying this to anyone, I’ve just seen this kind of behaviour to happen from people who swear by the ethics of EDH. If three out of four players play with goodstuffs.decks and one guy comes with some casual funstuffs.dec, it’s gonna be pretty cold shower for the one guy, and when three funstuffs go against one deck that can combo out anytime, it’s not gonna be fun for anyone.

    You play how others play, or you find a new playgroup, or you don’t play at all.
    I choose to play with my friends who I’ve been playing for over a decade now, and if we are having fun playing the game “wrong” then I suppose we are playing it right for ourselves.
    This whole article seems more like a rant towards people who don’t realize this and roam around, trying to find others to “beat” with their decks. I don’t mind others playing casually, as long as they don’t come telling others that their way is the only way. As much I don’t like people who say winning is the only way to go. Shouldn’t be only black and white when we live in a world full of colors.

  11. Sick of Magic

    June 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I agree so much with this. I pretty much don’t play Magic anymore because the people in my group have their ego’s attached to their decks (pun intended) and don’t give a rat’s behind if their opponent is having fun.

    Here’s an example: Bro wants to make a ninja deck. So he packs it full of unblockable creatures to make ninjutsu effective. Sounds cool, right? Wrong. This game is fun when its INTERACTIVE. If I can’t block your creatures, than I don’t have to think. I just attack you, cause its not like I can block anyway. It stops being cool at that point. The answer: realize your opponent wants to play WITH you, not just be a clock for you to race. What really happens: it just keeps getting played.

    So my solution? I play magic against the few people in my area that I LIKE to play against. Because we have fun. We don’t whine when we lose, or gloat when we win. And its FUN. Pretty much because of the reasons you listed. That’s what we avoid.

  12. Doug Johnson

    November 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Great article!

    I will scoop and walk away from a game that is not fun. I don’t have enough time to waste sitting at a table of EDH and NOT playing the game, watching someone else play. This can be due to someone taking forever for each and every turn or it could be from someone playing a dick combo or card.

    * Don’t counter everything I play or play an effect that prevents me from casting spells.

    * Don’t play Vorinclex – I want to tap my lands and play the game, too. Hell I hate all the Praetors except the white and red ones, which don’t prevent me from playing cards like the others do.

    * Don’t play poison/infect, especially swinging in for a lethal one-hit with Blightsteel – I use a table rule where my infect=whither, instead. No one disagrees, but so far no one has joined me in the rule, either. Used as Whither keeps Blightsteel as still an awesome critter that’s tough to deal with (just a little better than Darksteel), without it being an asshole play.

    And when someone does play a lockdown combo, it’s like “wow, great combo, did you think of that yourself or did you read about it on the interwebs?”

    What I hate about Standard is that it is the same 4-6 decks, all copied from the original creator, perhaps with minor mods, but essentially the same damned thing. Then the guy across the table from you at FNM acts like he’s some kind of amazing Magic player because he plays the Clone#2 deck and beats the shit out of your totally original, interesting deck.

    EDH is supposed to have room for interesting decks. It should be fun to play decks that are built around a specific idea other than “best cards”, but it isn’t when the guy across from you is preventing you from playing any of the cards in your new deck.

    BTW, I’ve got 11 EDH decks at the moment and have a couple more in mind. Here’s the commanders/deck type:

    Glissa, the Traitor – kind of a good stuff BG deck with a normal amount of artifacts. I should re-evaluate this deck.

    Glissa, the Traitor – almost nothing but artifacts to exploit Glissa’s ability. It also have a heavy “counter” theme in that I’ve got lots of things that have or use counters of some type, then all the BGA proliferate stuff I could find.

    Glissa, the Traitor – Zombie themed deck. Most Zombie decks are mono B or UB. I thought it would be fun to do BG Zombies. The only non-Zombie critter is Grave Titan.

    Maga, Traitor to Mortals – This is a fun “Drain Life” type deck. It doesn’t win much, but it is just fun to play. Lots of effects that deal damage to everyone, so it is also quite democratic, which means everyone targets me. LOL

    Yeva, Nature’s Herald – The commander isn’t important. This is a mono-green elf deck. Kind of boring to play, but I’ll play it a couple more times before I mod it into a Glissa BG Elf deck (I love that Glissa, LOL). Note that the deck does have alternate Generals in Ezuri and the original General, Kaysa.

    Yeva, Nature’s Herald – Again, the commander is not that important, but it is good for the deck. This is my EDH version of FENWAY (the Green Monster deck). The primary theme is big green monsters with trample. Pretty basic gameplay.

    Bruna, Light of Alabaster – I’ve always had a soft spot for enchantments, so this was a chance to really exploit the Aura theme. I deliberately left out of the deck some of the more broken stuff (e.g., Eldrazi Conscription). Most of the Auras give shroud, unblockable, and card draw. The few times I’ve played it was disappointing. It is a very boring deck to play, so I’ll probably tear it apart or go for more variety in the Auras, or both. I might also add some Control Magic Auras and that artifact that lets you move an Aura from one to another critter. It will be fun to try, especially with the limitation on the movement effect being 1 or 2 cards.

    Kemba, Kha Regent – a heavy equipment theme, of course, including the Kaldra suite. It used to rely more heavily on Kaldra, but was too boring, so I changed it up a bit with more equipment variety. Ironically, Kemba rarely gets played, so perhaps I need to work on the deck some to make it more interesting.

    Nin, The Pain Artist – Love me some Nine Inch Nails! Nin is card-draw. The cool combo is Nin with the Strata Scythe, especially nuking herself for cards. It is a fun deck to play and doesn’t mess with other people too much, e.g., there are only 2 counters, though they both steal the spell.

    Asmira, Holy Avenger – I opened this in a Mirage pack back in the day (I bought heavy into Mirage) and liked the card, but couldn’t find a way to play it. Years later I learn about EDH. Awesome opportunity to finally play it in a reasonable fashion. The deck is heavy on tokens. There aren’t too many sac outlets, as I built this a while ago before I learned about the value of sac outlets (by having it used against me, LOL).

    Merieke Ri Berit – I had this card from Ice Age days. I was looking to build a WB deck and decided to use this so I could get blue for untap/bounce effects and card draw. The primary purpose of the deck is targeted destruction, more than steal and use against you style. There are a lot of untap effects, so I can re-use Meri’s effect. I like the low mana cost (so I can use her more often).

    Wow, this is way too long. Sorry to ramble on.


    • Viperion

      November 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Wow helluva first post you got yourself there 😉 Thanks for the compliment!

      Yeah, you really do like yourself some Glissa huh!

      Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog; currently I’m only posting about once a week, or whenever grabs my fancy. Pull up a chair!

  13. Em

    November 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    If you’re not supposed to win at an EDH why do you care if you lose to players that do? also when running yeva she can be crucial to your deck. flashing in big green fatties at the end of your enemies turn and then swinging then your turn is amazing. That is…if you want to win….which you don’t…

    • Viperion

      November 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      You missed my point by quite some margin. If the main reason you’re playing EDH is to win games of EDH, you’re missing the point of the format. If you want to rack up the W’s, play Legacy or Vintage. If you want to experience a game of Magic, go along for a crazy ride, and not care about who wins and who doesn’t – as long as everyone involved enjoys the experience – then you’re playing EDH

      Not sure where the comment about Yeva comes from.. this post was written before Yeva was printed, although she’s still not really relevant to the topic…

  14. regiment47

    January 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Your opinion is appreciated. However, Edh is every bit is fun competitive as any other format. For some people, winning is fun.

    Personally, I can’t intentionally build an in-effectual deck. It’s far too difficult for me to build a deck that isn’t well rounded. An Edh deck should have both an effective offense and defense.

    I think we can all agree that no matter what, a magic player will invest Money into the game. Buying boosters is fun and spontaneous, but for me I’d rather straight up purchase what I need to strengthen my deck.

    To me, your deck is a work of art to be built upon. I started building sharuum about three years ago and have continued to add to her ever since. I’ve seen Elbrus, Blightsteel, Kudoltha, Stonehwere Giant, etc all come and go. But as my meta and skill for the game improved so did my tactics. Yes, I can win quickly… But that’s why before games against lesser decks, I conciously make the effort to choose how I will go about it before hand. just because you have a competetive deck, that doesn’t always mean I will play competetivley.


    • Viperion

      January 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      And you are entitled to your opinion as well, of course.

      I would point out that Sheldon Menery (who knows a thing or two about EDH) is of the complete opposite opinion to you – he (and I) are firmly in the “build casually, play competitively” camp.

      If winning is your fun, more power to you, but I would suggest Legacy/Vintage/Modern may be the formats for you.

      Note also that this post is almost exactly two years old at this point, and the population of EDH players has both exploded and changed during that time. There are a lot more competitive players playing EDH now, but I think (that is, it is my personal opinion) that they are still missing the point of the format. It’s NOT to win, it’s to create games where the OTHER players have as much fun as you do.

      My 2c, IMHO etc etc etc

  15. better@edhthanu

    June 24, 2014 at 12:58 am

    You’re a retard

    • Viperion

      June 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Insightful commentary there. Care to elaborate?

      • Chives

        December 15, 2017 at 12:01 am

        I’m writing this from 2017 where we have iphone 8s and good shows about time travel, and as a smart person from the future I can confirm that Better’s just upset because he’s stuck with an iphone 6. Anyway, thanks for your article. I was brewing a competitive Archangel Avacyn list, then had an idea for a thematic Gisela, Broken Blade (basically a lot of exile and board wipes, with recurring animated enchantments) but they didn’t feel right. So I went searching for articles on fun EDH and hit this. Now I’m psyched to show off a clever take on Voltron to the playgroup tomorrow. Thanks for a great article!

        • Viperion

          December 15, 2017 at 8:01 am

          Thanks! This site hasn’t been active for some time! Glad you found the article helpful 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: