Life Outside the Cave

July 17, 2014

By Dodo Bird Commander writer Matt Holden

Matt

 

 

 

 

It’s risky for a caveman to leave the comfort and safety of his cave. In much the same way, I prefer to not to take the risk of playing Commander outside the comfort and safety of my kitchen-table play group.

life outside the cave 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For one, it’s guys I’ve known for a while and can joke around with. For instance, everyone’s got that one thing they always get grilled for by the others. For me there are several: it’s that I always takesies-backsies after calling attackers, or that I play ridiculously few basic lands, or that I’m incapable of simple life total math.

Another reason I prefer playing with my steady group is that we all play decks that are around the same caliber. I think this is so because we all enjoy having interactive games, we all disapprove of insta-win combos, and we all appreciate deck orchestration more so than the firepower of individual cards.

That said, I do sometimes venture outside the familiar furnishings of the cave–and there’s a lot to see out there, both good and bad.

First the bad.

It’s frustrating to me when I run into competitive players in game shops who are still in tournament mode when they sit down to play Commander. They try and do the most consistently powerful thing possible with the best available cards–the sole aim being ticks in the win column.

I recently faced a cut throat deck heads up that featured many cheap discard outlet cards and many reanimate cards (like Putrid Imp and Reanimate). Using these types of cards, the deck would consistently land turn 2 or 3 monsters like Sheoldred, Whispering One.

“I get it, you have huge biceps. Play again?”

life outside the cave 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think Commander was created as a 1-of style of Magic to discourage deck redundancy (and therefore game redundancy), to empower genius deckbuilders, and to give the “rest” of the Magic cards a shot at the limelight. I don’t think it was created for turn 2 Sheoldred.

But I don’t entirely loathe cut throat Commander players. I can learn from their competitive perspective and as always, get turned on to new cards. It’s just that they haven’t reached the enlightenment yet: that real multiplayer Magic is impossible without steady interaction between decks, cards, and, centrally, people.

Now for the good of what’s beyond the cave walls.

It’s piques my curiosity when I see fresh new deck ideas that demonstrate great synergy. Synergy is a word we use in Magic to mean “strong deck design”. In the same way a vehicle designer diligently engineers a car’s drive shafts, transmission, and engine to fit artfully together into the final design, so too does a deck builder assemble each card into the greater machinery of the deck.

Here are some great things I experienced outside the comfort of my play group at game stores in Southeast Michigan. All are the result of skillful deck construction.

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born. Havengul Lich. Undying creatures. Elegant, but not tackily degenerate.

 

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. Well of Lost Dreams. Archangel of Thrune. It gels but it doesn’t sting.

 

Hamletback Goliath. Mage Slayer. Rubblehulk. It hurts but you’re not mad because it was awesome.

 

And after each of these things happened, instead of a quiet “scoop, play again?” like earlier, there was laughter. Cheers even.

life outside the cave 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to all you kitchen-table Commander players out there like me: Go ahead. Venture outside the comfort of the cave. There’s good and there’s bad, and you might be surprised what you find…

Want more Dodo?
GAMEPLAYS!    •    ARTICLES!    •    TWEETERY!

  • Shaun Marvin

    I wanna say good article. I had typed up a paragraph of stuff I wanted to share and how much I agreed and stuff, but it somehow deleted itself… Big thing is those competitive players can be taught. Afterall a lot of us started out the same as them. That said I have walked away from groups that were to competitive.

  • Aaron Kloppel

    Mageslayer is one of my favorite equipments.

    • http://youtube.com/dodobirdcommander Dodo Bird Commander

      The 3-card combination including Mage Slayer mentioned in this article happened during a Planechase game while on the Stronghold Furnace plane!

  • http://www.ber-ded.com/berdedforum/index.php/256565-find-out-more-on-the-subject-of-medicare-supplements Jamie

    Valuable info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by chance, and I am stunned why this twist of fate did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  • http://www.peopleandpicks.com/blog/koko98/4493077/Helpful-Toenail-Fungal-Infection-Info-To-Make-You-Aware-Of-This-Sophisticated-Topic/ fungal fingernail infection

    Good post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is really the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

  • http://gsdjfh6dgfg6hh75gjhgdf.com buy facebook fans

    I enjoyed examining your site. I actually believe anything you wrote.

  • http://bbs.s.0w0.im/?p=318-pros-tell-you-stories-about-mobilespy cell phone tracking

    I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this situation plus it does indeed offer me personally a lot of fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, coming from everything that I have seen, I just hope as other feed-back pile on that individuals remain on issue and don’t start upon a tirade regarding some other news du jour. Still, thank you for this superb piece and although I can not go along with the idea in totality, I regard the perspective.

  • http://www.sdfsdgfhbfbhtyjyujuw.com Issac Maez

    Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  • http://bereanstechnology.com/index.php?q=node/54512 occupational medicine

    Well I definitely liked reading it. This post offered by you is very practical for accurate planning.

  • http://bhdgdfsj6jakhyfj77g5gdf.com Luciana Luzania

    Keep up the excellent work , I read few articles on this site and I think that your web blog is real interesting and Power to the People of excellent information.

  • http://fjhfghfgfdytyjukuiky.com Bong Nelmes

    Should you stroll about overconfident in your skills, then you certainly will ultimately fail. Focus on locations it is possible to increase your authority skills.