This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series True Conviction

By Matt

I’m not about to preach to you about how Kukusho should be unbanned, or how Sway of the Stars is no more insulting than Time Stretch (even though both of these things are granted).  And frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn that a whole whopping 43 cards out of 10,698 cards are banned, which is just 0.40% of all the cards available to you in Magic.  In other words, I’m not at all swayed by the slippery slope alarmists who think that an unreasonably huge ban list is coming and will inevitably destroy this or any format. So let’s move on.

What I’m preaching about today is hypocrisy and mixed messages.  I’m talking about a ban list that aims to keep Commander flavorful and “in-spirit” while recklessly encouraging degenerate deck building to both newbies and veterans alike.  I’m talking about the most disputed topic in all of Commander: the terribly inadequate ban list given to us by the Rules Committee.

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This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series True Conviction

By Matt

(Generals being “tuckable” by cards such as Hinder and Oblation is a ruling that is inconsistent with other such replacement effect rules and ultimately discourages players from building general-centric decks or from even casting their general in the first place, which is the defining characteristic of this format and plays the largest role in its success and sets it apart from normal, deceased Highlander. It’s the mating call of the scrubby player to insist that some Generals are “clearly overpowered” and that tucking them is the only solution, especially given that there are plenty of efficient answers to every General that should already be staples in any well-built deck, and simply communicating to the player with the “clearly overpowered” general and requesting that he/she play something more to the level of the group is a more viable solution yet. Rendering entire archetypes moot for three mana at instant speed is what’s truly “overpowered.” I find this debate so absurdly one-sided that writing another structured argument like I did about the sideboard rule would be excessive. Already I’ve said too much on the topic. So, instead, you get a short allegory about a man and a woman going through couples therapy. Enjoy!)

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This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series True Conviction

By Matt

I don’t hate competitive decks.

Okay, I’ll grant that this sounds far-fetched coming from the guy who says “tutor generals are worse neighbors than the Taliban” and “you’re as respectable as John Wayne Gacy, Jr. when you play 5-color combo decks”—but it’s the truth. To hate competitive decks would be to hate one half of myself, one half that surfaces at the right times and the right places but remains respectfully hidden away from the casual group games that the Rules Committee (hereby abbreviated to ‘RC’) promotes.

There is a time and a place for a Land Destruction archetype, for “Counterspell: The Deck,” for Necrotic Ooze combo, for Erayo lockdown, for Captain Sisay and her hateful band of prison guards, and for all the things you deem “cheap” or “unfair” or “overpowered.” That place is for equally Spike-y playgroups and that that time is for when someone chimes: “Who wants to duel?” I am fully in support of both ends of the spectrum of Commander—“Casual” and “Competitive”—and I never judge unless one of the two is presented repeatedly and pompously out of context.

I am loving and accepting and open to all of the wonderful things that this format has to offer—wait, who invited you, Optional Sideboard Rule? We don’t welcome your kind around here! OUT! GET OUT! That’s it, I’m getting my shotgun!

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This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series True Conviction

By Matt

Dear “Stan,”

You often say that you’re like everyone else, although ‘I put my pants on one cloven hoof at a time’ sure makes us wonder. ‘My other mount is a Nightmare’ isn’t helping your case, either, though that’s not nearly as heinous as the fact that you think bumper stickers are a great form of self-expression.

But you would think something like that, because you’re the sort of person who builds a five color Commander deck without a general.

Excuse my tone. I promised myself that I’d be civil, but you make that difficult for me in light of all your smug indifference, your blatant disregard for both format and group expectations, and how you’d quite clearly rather be playing Highlander or perhaps Solitaire instead—if Solitaire had a component where three of your friends were strapped to medieval torture devices.

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This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series True Conviction

By Matt

In a tiny cul-de-sac at the end of Mirrodin Lane, the peaceful residents of Multiverseville celebrate Karn Liberation Day, a midsummer’s reprieve of jumping through neighbors’ sprinklers and sharing bean casseroles as well as PG-rated jokes and stories, commiserating and rejoicing in the spirit of the day.

Kresh tosses a Frisbee to his neighbor, Hanna. Shirei gets his kite stuck in Doran for the twenty-seventh time that day. Jhoira remarks, sipping her eighth beer, “If only I could suspend this hangover forever!” Everyone laughs. All is well in Multiverseville.

The moving truck rumbling down the block towards them goes unnoticed at first, the euphoria of the day intoxicating them too much to immediately register the realization that they’re about to have a new neighbor, and that their lives will never be the same again. The truck backs into the vacant house opposite of Teferi’s residence, beep, beep, beeping as it does. Everyone goes silent, unable to quell their curiosities as they stare at the truck now parked in front of the green-painted house with the white-washed picket fence.

The door to the truck opens violently, and it’s alarming to some, striking at their cores menacingly. Two legs appear beneath the door—soles thudding on the pavement—clad in knee-high, brown pirate boots. Feet pivoting, the figure slams the truck door shut, and many gasps pierce the silence at the shocking sight of the new resident, a young, busty brunette woman clad in a scandalous sort of red bikini-top. She flashes a sideways grin, surveying her new neighborhood through furtive glances left, then right.

Ib Halfheart’s pet hound Isamaru goes wild, barking obscenities at the newcomer. Nothing had ever before worked up that dog like this, and so everyone was all the more surprised when he bolted across the street at full force, as if to tear the mysterious lady to shreds.

The dog leaps at her as soon as it’s in range, but she intercepts the furry little thing in the air with a mighty boot, launching the dog back across the street to where it came, its limp body bouncing thrice before skidding to a halt near its owner.

Ib howls on behalf of his downed dog, running to the little thing to hold him, “She kicked my dog!” Shocked, appalled, and in disbelief, the people of Mirrodin Lane begin murmuring amongst themselves.

“She’s a bad apple, that one.”

“Well, she was only defending herself…”

“How can anyone do that to a poor little creature?”

“My God, maybe dogs CAN sense evil.”

“Why are we in a 50s suburban stereotype?”

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