This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Crossover Month

By CASSIDY aka WRITEROFWRONG
Cassidy is TCGPlayer.com’s resident Command author and the administrator of YouCantHandleTheNath.com, a blog about a variety of topics but pretty focused on Commander. To see his TCGPlayer archive, click here. Additionally, Cassidy has been on CommanderCast three times; S3E7, S4E3 and S4E5. For Crossover Month, Cassidy is working with Sean aka SwordsToPlow to discuss 1v1 Commander.

Greetings CommanderCast audience! Cassidy Silver of TCGPlayer.com / YouCantHandletheNath.com here, and I’m going to level with you all – I had a little bit of trouble deciding exactly what I wanted to write here. Sean and I agreed to do a 1v1 Duel Format, where in I intended to defend the format from the multitudes of haters out there. In the end, I decided to argue this instead – it is important to build your EDH decks with both one on one and multiplayer in mind.

I am going to start with an anecdote to acclimate you with my point of view. I came back to the game of Magic itself because of EDH – you see, my little brother had moved into the Windy City to shake things up, and he started the journey sleeping in the then empty guest room in my condo. I was actually pretty excited with the prospect, as he would be the fourth family member to ‘live’ in that room. Since we are both insomniacs (its actually a family trait) we stayed up all night playing cards and ‘eating sandwiches.’

This is the context of my immersion into EDH – my little brother made up for years of my tormenting him by beating the crud out of me with Zur the Enchanter. The games were a great change of pace from the game I had previously tried to master (Warhammer) and we would easily get in twenty games in the span of a night, and on a small coffee table, no less! This was great for my short attention span, because even if I lost, I learned something from the game, and the more games, the more I learned.

And then I played my first game of multiplayer EDH. I’ll be blunt – I didn’t like it. It was harder to keep track of what was going on, and it seemed like the games could take forever, especially against decks that have been running on more ‘answers’ than ‘questions’.

As I got deeper into the format, I was surprised to discover that people really like multiplayer games, and actually kind of hate 1v1 games. Don’t get me wrong – I have grown to understand, and love, multiplayer Commander – but I still find a series of 1v1 games to be most satisfying EDH experience.

Really, a lot of the reason I love 1v1 is the convenience. Getting four people for a game of EDH isn’t all that tough, but once a person gets knocked out, it might not always be as easy to get another big game going. Getting a quick one on one game in there is a good way to take up the time, especially if everyone else still has a strong game presence.

In fact, you will probably get a few games in while the larger game lurches onward. Seems logical to me that you have a deck that is fun to play in one on one games, just in case your former opponent just slammed a prison lock on the table.

Now, there is a reason to build a deck that is good in multiplayer as well as 1v1 (beyond convenience), rather than just having one that is good for multiplayer, and one that is good for duels. It is special kind of tournament that I like to call a ‘Commander Triathlon’ (I described it in full here). Basically, you needed to have one deck that could win in a game of four player free for all, a game of randomly paired teams, and finally an epic game of matched 1v1 duels. The tournament was so awesome, and I plan to get one going locally here in the near future.

For the first time ever, I am going to reveal the Glissa, the Traitor deck piloted by my little brother that day. It is a great example of a deck that is built to play in both duo and multiplayer, and is really fun to play against.

General
Glissa, the Traitor

Artifacts 17
1 Mindslaver
1 Birthing Pod
1 Caged Sun
1 Coalition Relic
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Gauntlet of Power
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Phyrexian Processor
1 Plague Boiler
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Thran Dynamo

Creatures 17
1 Acidic Slime
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Duplicant
1 Hermit Druid
1 Hex Parasite
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Moriok Replica
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Plaguebearer
1 Platinum Angel
1 Platinum Emperion
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Sylvok Replica
1 Terastodon

Enchantments 4
1 Asceticism
1 Necropotence
1 Oath of Lim-Dûl
1 Pernicious Deed

Instants
1 Beast Within
1 Hatred
1 Krosan Grip
1 Stonewood Invocation
1 Vampiric Tutor

Sorceries 20
1 All Is Dust
1 All Suns’ Dawn
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Consuming Vapors
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Exsanguinate
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Harmonize
1 Life’s Finale
1 Mind Shatter
1 Mind Twist
1 Praetor’s Counsel
1 Praetor’s Grasp
1 Profane Command
1 Promise of Power
1 Recollect
1 Scapeshift
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Syphon Flesh

Planeswalkers 2
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Karn Liberated

Lands 34
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Bayou
1 Cabal Coffers
8 Forest
1 Lake of the Dead
1 Mutavault
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Petrified Field
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Rishadan Port
9 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Tree of Tales
1 Twilight Mire
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Volrath’s Stronghold

The reason this deck is good in either style is the solid early game plan it has with fast mana, like Mana Vault or Sol Ring, enabling a Mindslaver lock for one on one victory, and it has a solid late game plan with Exsanguinate, the Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power.

Hatred is a key duel card, as it basically forces you to play around it whenever Glissa attacks. If he has the five mana up, you have to assume that the Hatred isn’t far behind.

You can see the Plaguebearer in here, which is also a personal favorite of mine. Great in this deck as it can funnel excess mana into Glissa’s ability.

The Platinum Angel and Platinum Emperion are cool in this deck and actually scale well in both types of games. In one on one they are harder to get rid of, but in multiplayer they have a stronger impact as they work the same way no matter how many players are around. Sheoldred, the Whispering One is another card that gains power with each opponent.

Also important are the strong sweepers, like All is Dust and Damnation. They both cause a lot of damage in 1v1, but the death toll sky rockets in multiplayer.

Finally, spells with variable casting costs, like Mind Twist or Promise of Power, will be highly playable both in the quicker 1v1 and the slower multiplayer games. There have been times that the X in Mind Shatter has proven to be far more useful than a static number, especially against Praetor’s Counsel.

As you can see, the deck is ready to take on all comers 1v1, as well as multiple opponents at the same time. He came in second at the tournament, for the record, and actually used my own Garruk, Primal Hunter on my uber-charged Omanth, Locu of Mana for a first round victory.

Thanks for reading! Check out my weekly EDH articles over at TCGplayer.com, and be sure to visit www.youcanthandlethenath.com for all your commander needs. Swords to Plow’s article is over there right now!

Always remember – winning isn’t everything, it is just a prelude to the next game.

Cassidy Silver
www.youcanthandlethenath.com

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