This entry is part 1 of 17 in the series Accumulated Knowledge

In the Commander forums there is one subject that is brought up repeatedly: “The Spirit of Commander.”  The discussions revolve around how the game should be played and what makes it fun.   This discussion never gets resolved, and it never will.   The truth of the matter is everyone has a different view of what makes Commander fun.  Trying to make rules and pressure people into a certain style of play will never work.  Commander is not a sanctioned format, so people can just ignore the rules and play the way they see fit.  Others will follow the rules to the letter, but not to the intended spirit of the game.

If you really hate a certain type of deck, or certain style of play, you need to be prepared to hate it out of your play group.   On the most basic level, you can refuse to play with people who play a style of deck that you hate.  If you live in an area with a limited playgroup, this could lead to you having a hard time playing Commander.  If you really hate a strategy, you have another option.  You can build a deck that nullifies strategies you do not want to see played.  Today, I am going to be covering the cards that cripple some of the most hated Commander tactics.

I include artifact mana in almost all of my decks.  I love being able to play cards that are banned in legacy to speed up Commander games.  However, if someone in your group is dominating you with artifact based strategies, you need to shut them down.  You want to teach them that depending on their artifacts can create a liability.

Kataki, War’s Wage
Null Rod
Creeping Corrosion
Austere Command
Damping Matrix
Energy Flux
Fracturing Gust
Furnace Dragon
Hammer Mage
Hurkl’s Recall
Kill Switch
Thada Adel, Acquisitor

Non-Basic Lands
Commander can feel like a battle of who has the biggest wallet.  This shows in land bases more than anywhere else.  If you are getting frustrated by someone beating you through the sheer dollar value of their land base, you can force them to start playing more basics.

Back to Basics
Blood Moon
Magus of the Moon
Primal Order
Wilderness Elemental
Destructive Flow
Shivan Harvest
Dwarven Miner
Dwarven Blastminer
Trench Wurm

Tutors can help a Commander deck become more consistent and deadly.  For some people, tutoring is against the random chaotic fun that makes them love Commander.  After all, what is the point of only having one of each card in your deck if you have 20 tutors that can find whatever you need?  If tutors are making the games your group’s games repetitive and boring, you need to shut down your opponent’s ability to tutor.

Leonin Arbiter
Mindlock Orb
Shadow of Doubt
Wheel of Fortune
Memory Jar
Magus of the Jar
Aven Mindcensor

Excessive Drawing
Decks like Azami and Edric run off of gross amounts of card drawing.  If someone draws 3x the number of cards you do in a game, they are probably going to win.  You need to make it detrimental to draw an excessive amount of cards.

Black Vise
Runeflare Trap
Spiteful Visions
Consecrated Sphinx
Psychic Possession
Underworld Dreams
Maralen of the Mornsong
Omen Machine
Phyrexian Tyranny
Kederekt Parasite

Extra Turns
We all like to play Magic.  When we sleeve up our 100 cards and sit down for a game, we want to play our decks.  It is not fun to watch someone else take a ton of turns in a row.  If someone is taking too many turns, you need be able rob them of those extra turns.

Lighthouse Chronologist
Imp’s Mischief
Ricochet Trap
Time Stop
Echo Mage
Hive Mind
Uyo, Silent Prophet
Wild Ricochet

For whatever reason, many players would prefer to have their permanents destroyed than have them countered.  If you truly hate it when people do not let you play, you have to take matters into your own hands.  Using spells with Split Second is one way around this.  Using spells that cannot be countered is another.   Using cards like Quicksilver Amulet and Stoneforge Mystic can let you put cards into play without ever casting them.  If you don’t want to build your entire deck with these spells you could include some of the following cards to force your spells into play.

Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Gaea’s Herald
Spellbreaker Behemoth
Vexing Shusher
Defense Grid
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Price of Glory
Dosan The Falling Leaf

Control Magic
It seems that blue decks do a lot of things people hate.  Another thing blue decks do, that people seem to hate, is steal their stuff.  Stealing one or two permanents probably will not make anyone too angry.  However, when Memnarch steals everything you have, it can be really frustrating.  You need to have some way to protect your creatures.

Brooding Saurian
Homeward Path
Aerie Mystics
Planar Guide
Privileged Position

There are those who think the poison total should be 15 or 20 instead of the usual 10 in Commander.  In longer games this can be frustrating due to the proliferate action.  You can take one point of poison damage early and lose because of it later on.  You need to have creatures that can block creatures with infect or ways to remove the infect counters.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Melira’s Keepers
Sudden Spoiling

General Damage
There are people out there who do not like the general damage rule.  They do not like losing to damage that you can not heal.  Luckily, a player’s Commander is never a surprise.  You can use otherwise subpar commander cards to protect yourself from a Commander.

Meddling Mage
Null Chamber
Runed Halo
Voidstone Gargoyle
Declaration of Naught
Murderous Spoils
Empress Galina
Tsabo Tavoc
Willow Satyr

Chaos Decks
These decks make you think, a lot.  Half the time you cannot figure out what happens without a pen, paper, and a laptop open to the MTG rules.  Eye of the Storm, Hive Mind, Confusion in the Ranks, Grip of Chaos and anything else that makes a game of Magic into a half chess, half Sudoku match need special tools to be dealt with.  There might be some collateral damage when you go to take out these enchantments.

Back to Nature
Patrician’s Scorn
Tempest of Light
Tranquil Domain
Cleansing Meditation
Nova Cleric
Tranquil Grove
Pernicious Deed


This card is incredibly frustrating.  I think there is really only one appropriate response to this card being played;

The lesson here: learn to channel your hate.  If you really do not like what someone is doing, find a way to stop them.  Then, find a way to make what they are trying to do impossible.  Then, punish them for even trying something so annoying.


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