I’m going to try out a New Feature here on the EDH100 Project, wherein I will take an article I’ve read on another site and give my thoughts or reactions to it (linking back to their original article… of course, if you’re reading this blog and NOT reading the ones I’m linking to, Shame on you! Theirs are way better than mine (but I’ve got more decks))
I like CommanderCast a lot. I enjoy the articles, and I was an avid listener of the Podcast for many seasons (though I’ve fallen behind), and was even on one of the Call in Shows.
They posted an article a few days ago entitled “90 Minutes with Brian (or ‘Why I Hate Commander’),” in which the author gives his well-thought-out opinions for reasons he “hates” commander, or things he hates about the format. One of the great things about a social/community-based format like commander is the variety of opinions and reasons for playing the game. I thought I’d throw in my Nickel’s worth of opinions on the same topics.
Here are my feelings on the 8 Things that Brian Hates…
1. Color Identity Restrictions. Me: LOVE
Yes, it’s an extra challenge sometimes, but I actually like that I can’t play Debtors’ Knell in any deck with White OR Black, or have Bringer of the White Dawn in any white deck. The color identity restrictions actually open up the card pool for people who play a lot of decks by taking away some things that might be the dreaded “Auto Include/Staple”. It also causes me to have to build more decks. Hybrid cards, to me at least (Sorry Maro) are two-colored cards: just look at them. This is one of those restrictions that breeds creativity for me, and I’d be displeased to see it go a way (which is why I’m glad Maro don’t EDH).
2. Commander Damage. Me: ‘LIKE’ LIKE
If Commander Damage didn’t exist, I would only play arbitrarily large life-gain decks, ever. I sometimes dislike losing too quickly to Voltron decks, but I wouldn’t ever want to lose the Commander Damage rule, as I think it gives some character to the format and it makes the General into something more than just “This is what colors of mana my deck can produce, and what colors of spells I can play.” Any general should be able to win the game for you more easily (even Isamaru or Jasmine Boreal).
3. Casting from the Command Zone . Me: LIKE
Other than the occasional desire to use Ith as a general and not have to pay 7, it doesn’t really bother me that there are a few Legends of the 300+ that don’t work as generals, or at least require hoops. I’m actually really glad that the Myojin require you to have a bounce effect to make them useful as generals.
4. Commander Death Replacement. Me: LOVE
I love the tension of the choice here. Commanders already have a pretty sweet bonus that you can always have access to them from the Command Zone and get their ETB effects (with a few exceptions, like said Myojin). Also getting their death triggers would be a little to much if you ask me. I definitely have generals that I prefer go to the Graveyard (Skullbriar is the first one that comes to mind, since after the first Commander Tax, most of the reanimation I have for him is cheaper than 6).
5. Mana Production Restrictions – Me: LIKE
Again, apologies to Maro, but I think it’s a fun quirk of the format that you don’t have access to Mana out of your Commander’s Color ID. It makes the choices different for certain spells, and I think that’s a good thing. Blue theft decks don’t need even more help. It seems, though, that as of Theros R&D has updated their technology (ala Daxos) to work-around this rule to a degree… and I do like Daxos, so I can’t make a life-long commitment here; the friend-zone will be good enough.
6. The Social Contract – Me: LOVE
I don’t play any other format (I don’t even actually like Pre-releases, though I go to get new cards faster), because every other format is based on the idea that you need to win. Period.*
From my skewed view, everyone that plays a non-Social format is either a Spike or delusional. So, yes, I like the idea that Commander is a format centered around something other than Winning. To me the Social Contract is: Play games and decks that the people you’re playing with (“With” not “Against”) could also enjoy. If other people are consistently able to have fun playing with you, then you’re in the wrong format, or at least playing in the wrong group. If everyone in your group likes to try to combo out on turn 3, or is at least okay playing under that restriction that a deck has imposed, then you’re with in the Social Contract. … I could go on about my thoughts on the Social Contract and “competition,” but I think I’ll undertake that “write” of passage in a different article.
* There’s a difference between “I play to have fun. Winning is fun.” and “I play to win.”
7. The Banlist – LIKE
Do I like all of the choices for the Banlist? Not really. Since I’ve started playing, have I ever been happy that a card got banned? No. The great thing about the Banlist and the “Social Format,” (or at least the fact that, while recognized, EDH is not sanctioned by Wizards) is that you can ignore it if you want .
Due mostly to the fact that She was banned only days after I bought one for my brother as a Christmas Present, Emrakul is fully allowed in any game under my roof or that I’m hosting. I started playing EDH just days after Tolarian Academy was banned (I didn’t know about the banned list when I built my first deck), and it was one of the first 5 cards I grabbed for my very first deck (1. Zephyr Falcon. 2. Kangee (general). 3. Soraya, 4. Serra’s Sanctum. 5. Tolarian Academy).
To be honest, though, I wish they’d just ban Iona and let Teysa have Painter’s Servant and make many illicit bi-racial spirit children.
8. “Commander”. Me: TOLERATE
I’ve only been playing since 2010, so I’m not Old Skool enough to have strong ties to the terminology. I use it interchangeably, and don’t care what terms other people choose to use.
So there you have it. Me piggybacking off of a better writer. If you hate it. Let me know.