Tag Archives: Deck Building

The Social Contract: Build well, or Play well?

There’s a member of our playgroup who’s philosophy when it comes to EDH is (or was, and I haven’t heard him say otherwise) “If you’re going to do a thing, do it as best as you can. If you’re going to make a Green ramp deck, make it the best ramp deck. If you’re building Mono-Black control, make the best Mono-Black control you can.” On the surface, this sounds like a pretty typical Spikey statement, and normally one I’d be against, as far as the “Spirit of EDH” goes (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean). However, this same guy recently (Edit: Well, it was recently when I started this article…) disassembled his Azusa deck so he could make Seshiro – the best Seshiro deck he could make.

Which led me to a thought – is it better to build top-grade decks, and play them according to the level of your opposition, or build sub-optimal (or janky, or techy, or themed, or fun, depending on your definition) and play them as well as the deck allows?

I put this question to the fine gentleman above and his answer was play as best the deck allows you to – he said he hates it when a player has the opportunity to take out the game but doesn’t. I understand that opinion but I think there’s also a danger there – if you build the best <type x> deck possible, and play it to the best of the deck’s capabilty, you better watch out what <type x> is. If your deck is “BUG Goodstuff”, chances are you’ll be winning a lot of games; but again is EDH really about winning games? The Seshiro deck above doesn’t win very often, but it’s a fun deck to play against, and it certainly looks like a fun deck to play – and in this writer’s opinion (how many tenses and viewpoints can I cram into one blog post anyway??) fun is the ultimate objective of a game of EDH.

What side of the question do I come down on? I’m firmly on the “play as well as you can” side – but my decks, generally speaking, are on the far side of the Jank River, down by Weak Theme Bend, and some of them would struggle to fight their way out of a wet paper bag 🙂

I can, however, see the appeal to building a really good deck, and holding back on playing it, depending on board position, quality of players, quality of decks. It would be a pretty good ego boost, for one thing: I know I can take you out (even if you don’t), but I’m allowing you to live.

Most of the time though, I enjoy putting the off-beat, rarely seen cards into my decks, and simply seeing where they take me. So far I’m enjoying the ride, even if I’m not winning as many games as I “should”. However many that is.

Where do all y’all patient, faithful readers come? Do you build good decks? Not so good decks but play them well? Both? Neither?


Posted by on April 29, 2012 in EDH/Commander


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