Posted by ‘BRIONNE’ aka ‘FORK OF DOOM’
While most small children spend their time watching Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, I grew up watching PBS with my nana. I think it’s safe to say that a diet of British comedy and Nova had a hand in making me the weird person I am today. So just imagine little kid me, chili bowl and all, watching the Antiques Roadshow. I just knew that I was going to grow up to be like all those old ladies who loved buying crap at antique stores to hoard. Which is why when we started having a Doucheology segment on the show, I was particularly amused by the term used for people who like to brag about their pimp decks.

“Why would that have a bad connotation? This is good quality programming.” –Five Year Old Brionne

As a self-confessed Antiques Roadshow, I am obsessed with pimping my decks. (In case you haven’t heard me talk about it before!) When Sean posted his article about pimping, I had to acknowledge that his all Russian/Japanese/Chinese Rhys the Redeemed showed pimping skills far superior to mine.

But not everybody can sit around for hours having an argument over what the most pimp version of Wrath of God is (the answer is Foil Russian 10th edition). Although I will go on about my decks to anyone who will listen, I am aware that some people have no interest in foil, foreign, signed, miscut, or promo cards. Some people absolutely do not care what version of a card they have. Some people (especially veteran players) hate foils and refuse to play them. Many Magic players care only about the playing aspect of the game and will play with whatever ratty white border card they can get their hands on.

That’s terrible. I think everyone should pimp their deck.

Whoa. Wait a minute. Did she just say that every Commander player out there should drop ridiculous amounts of money on over-the-top foils?

No, that’s not what I meant at all. I simply think that every Commander player should do something to make their deck unique. Many strive to do this by building theme decks and playing unusual cards, which I think is awesome. However, some of the coolest decks can still blend into the crowd, even to their owner. If your decks aren’t just lists of cards to you, then do something to show it. You may have put countless hours into drafting up a decklist and showing it to everyone for advice, but once the deck is built there is no way for your opponents to know this. Maybe you sifted through your crap commons and built a 5 color Hill Giant deck, which is kind of awesome in a terrible way. Even a totally netdecked list can become yours with a bit of work.

These are a few ways that I can think of to “pimp,” although this term doesn’t describe it. Call it a personal touch, a way of taking a stack of cardboard and turning it into something of my own.

–Cool tokens
This is a recent obsession of mine. I realized that there wasn’t much point in bragging about my carefully acquired cards if I couldn’t give someone a Changeling token after I Crib Swap’d their best creature. I felt like a scrub. So off I went to find my favorite art for every token my decks needed. There were some no brainers, like Japanese Scars of Mirrodin Soldier tokens for Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, but after that things got tough. Some older cards like Kiki-Jiki don’t have tokens, and I hated all the Cat tokens. My solution was to use a Giant Shark as the Kiki-Jiki token and to print off Hello Kitty tokens from MSE. This has the added bonus of humiliating anyone who has the lose to an army of Hello Kitty tokens from Kemba. Some people even like to use cards from Yu-Gi-Oh! and other TCGs as tokens. I think that tokens are an often overlooked aspect of pimping.

–A common theme
There are theme decks, and then there are themes that you can use to pimp. Sean’s Rhys is a good example of choosing to use foreign languages as that theme. But there are so many other things you can do if you just think outside the box. For instance, that Hill Giant deck could be all ratty white border cards. The deck is terrible, you might as well embrace that. If you can’t find white border versions then some paint or erasers will do the trick. And as for ratty, just play a few games unsleeved.

–A cool deck box
Some players probably still have no interest in doing anything to make the appearance of their decks unique. Maybe a unique deck box would do the trick. A quick search online will show some great examples. I’ve seen deck boxes with pictures taped on, ones covered in doodles, even a very elaborate one made to look like a spellbook.

–Matching Basics
It has been my experience that most Magic players will grab a stack of whatever basic lands they need and throw them into a deck. I am, not surprisingly, extremely particular about my basics. They all have to match. Even my standard decks, which I care nothing about, always have matching lands. My Commander decks take that one step further, with matching basics that are carefully chosen to fit the deck. But not Zendikar or Unhinged, because those are overdone and my inner hipster won’t allow that. Looking for your favorite art on basic lands gives you an appreciation for all the beautiful artwork this game has to offer.

–Favorite printing
Taking five minutes to find that old frame that you like is a small way to make your deck your own.

–Pimping
Of course, there is always the tried-and-true method of spending way too much money on your cards. People will know your deck belongs to you if it blinds them, they can’t read half of it, and they have to hear your story about how John Avon wrote the “F bomb” on your plains every time you play it.

I know that some of you will see any personalization of your decks as unnecessary, but it can be a lot of fun. Let’s face it, if we wanted to play just another stack of synergistic cardboard we probably wouldn’t be playing Commander.