This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series The Social Contractor

By ANDY

For those who have been following CommanderCast since the days of yore, you are no doubt familiar with the $30 Wrexial Challenge. In case you aren’t hit up CommanderCast 01 to get the scoop! But here’s the skinny in brief:

“On the first episode of CommanderCast I announced that I’d be trying to build a $30 EDH deck to prove you can build EDH decks with a tight budget that will still be effective in a multiplayer setting, as one of the things I hear often about people who would like to play EDH but aren’t yet is “it looks expensive/you need old cards”. This deck’s goal is to prove the opposite is true!”

It also helps that I like having LOTS of different decks and I had yet to construct a blue/black Commander build, so the timing was perfect.

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This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series The Social Contractor

By ANDY

The banned list in Commander is a perennial source of controversy for it’s community. Given the exponential growth of the format and it’s diverse range of players, along with it’s billing as a ‘casual’ format, this makes sense; the definition of ‘casual’ varies wildly from group to group, and even player to player. When different ideologies on how the format is meant to be or SHOULD be played collide both in-game and in discourse, players with conflicting viewpoints often think that a change to the banned list would make the format more accommodating to their own vision of EDH, regardless of the explicit statement next to this ban list that it is a guide for casual play.

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This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series The Social Contractor

The term “douchebag” is the worst thing about Commander.

Commander is a format inherently loaded with problems: an ambiguous objective (try to win, but not too hard) , sloppy banlist and reliance on players self-policing. But, most of the time, these problems are actually kind of fun to work toward resolving. Unless you’re among the beardiest of neckbeards, you’re probably not going to fly into an asthma-inducing fit of rage when your friend suggests nobody plays with Time Stretch or Exsanguinate. And, whether you admit it, you also probably enjoy sitting around bitching and busting balls after the game when your friend does something really powerful and wins. Why? Well, other than the fact that you play Magic, and most Magic players love to complain, you’re also actually getting to interact with people in friendly territory. Interacting with peers is fun, and can even devolve into the treacherous realm of friendship.

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This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series The Social Contractor

By ANDY

Last time y’all heard from me I was discussing the semantics of “douchebag” in Commander. This week I’m examining another phrase that segments of the Commander community have decided to embrace that I either don’t think has much of a place in our vocabularies, or we need to consider what these phrases mean before we keep firing them off. Some of them are mean-spirited, and these are always the worst ones. I gave “douchebag” a thorough look last week because it had permeated so deeply into the fabric of Commander communities that the stank was impossible to ignore, and it needed a thorough washing to get it out of our systems. This next phrase isn’t nearly as bad, but is an easy one to address and deal with. The “easy” part is good, because I hate hard work sometimes.

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This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series The Social Contractor

By ANDY

Ahhh… league systems! Who doesn’t love adding external awards to a game to promote certain types of behaviour? Commander, as a format, is perhaps the greatest fit for this type of system you can find in Magic. After all, when the best way to win a game is often frowned upon, your game could probably use some beefing up. A little more substance without the abuse part. For many people, Leagues do just that, as well as having the added bonus of providing a subtle way to steer the behaviour of participants with a nice, passive-aggressive tone. This also lets you avoid the kind of uncomfortable confrontation so many MtG players fear.

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This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series The Social Contractor

By ANDY

If you weren’t already convinced that what I write is filler until we have a new writer, then I don’t think this piece will leave any doubt in your mind. A note: I will be referring to ‘breakdancing’ from here on in by it’s appropriate term, ‘breaking’, and it’s practitioners as ‘breakers’.

This week we’ve got two things you never imagined comparing going directly head-to-head; a casual variant of a fantasy trading card game and an athletically taxing, informally-developed dance style. This is something that I think has been creating a deep rift between the collectible card gaming and hip-hop dancing communities, which I think we can all agree is unacceptable. I’m hoping that this comparison can help break down barriers and maybe even mend this hurtful divide that we all seem unwilling to confront.

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