Posted by William


(Note: The show is still posted, just scroll down a bit)





Hello, and welcome to “Melvin week”, our first theme week for Season 11! Why Melvin? Well, Melvin isn’t someone that really gets talked about. You hear about the three psychographics (a fancy word that really just means a type of person you market towards) of Timmy, Johnny, and Spike. We also hear about Vorthos and how something’s either rustled his jimmies or how he’s been drooling all over Theros (though personally, it doesn’t resonate with me). Vorthos is a profile, rather than a kind of audience that Wizards aims its marketing towards.


That’s not to say that Wizards doesn’t try to make flavorful cards, but those flavored cards are still geared towards Timmy players that love experiencing new and exciting things, Johnny players who love coming up with something fun and creative to do with them, and Spike players who love figuring out how to use cards to their full potential.


And then there’s Melvin. Melvin is the opposite of Vorthos, both of them occupying a spectrum of what you appreciate about the game, albeit polarized ends of said spectrum. Rather than focusing on the flavor aspect of Magic, Melvin appreciates the mechanics and the philosophy. Melvin gets that Form of the Dragon is supposed to be the player turning into the dragon, but he can’t enjoy it because all of the abilities just seem stapled together with a hot glue gun (you may need a minute to think about that one).

While Vorthos is jabbering away about how Titan of Eternal Fire is Prometheus and Chained to the Rocks was his punishment, Melvin is stepping back and admiring how The Ordeal cycles work with heroic cards that give themselves +1/+1 counters, or how the increased number of combat tricks make up for slower removal and work to trigger heroic themselves. Melvin loves the nuts and the bolts of the card, the set, and the game itself. The same applies to Commander.


Vorthos loves his Kaalia deck, but he’ll never put Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis into it. Why? Well because he’s Kaalia’s sworn enemy of course (and sweet Avacyn do I love that story). Melvin likes Vorthos’s Kaalia deck too, but he can’t understand why Vorthos is so opposed to putting Sun Titan in it. It might not be and angel, demon, or dragon, but it has so much interconnectivity with the rest of the deck that it’s foolish not find room for it.


In some ways, you can say that EDH deck building for Melvin is similar to Johnny in that they both like the way the cards interact, but Johnny is looking to do something specific with his deck, something he can show off to the people he’s playing with. Melvin likes to make sure that everything in the deck works well together, that every piece is either a cog or a gear that helps everything go. Once engines start coming online or pieces start fitting together, that’s when Melvin can stand back and say, “Yup. I did this.”


Much like appreciating architecture, Magic has certain limits that it imposes itself, for better and worse, out of necessity and by choice. When playing EDH, Melvin enjoys the singleton format, the nature of the Command zone, and how that affects the decks that are made, the strategies that get used, and how it all ties together. You can see how this makes it really hard for Wizards to make a card or a set aimed at this type of player when all they need to do is make a solid product. (For the record, it is my belief that Melvin hates Avacyn Restored for it’s clunky limited environment and lack of removal that let creatures just win games. This is opposed to the Vorthos side that loved seeing angels and the forces of good come back and tear evil a new one, as well as the various theme cards)


Throughout the week, you’ll see a number of articles by our staff about Melvin. My job was just to prime you up and make sure we’re all on the same page about who and what Melvin is. A player who loves the “under the hood” stuff rather than the paint job or the spinners. A player who takes great pride in building a functional entity that is his EDH deck.


If you want to go a little more into detail, you can read Maro’s article about Vorthos and Melvin here, as that provided the bulk of what I know regarding what Melvin means.


If you’d like to contact me, you can tweet me (at)Commandercast, email me Commandercast(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow us on our new tumblr account tumblr(dot)com/blog/commandercast.

Glad Ya’ll could join me for the first piece I’ve written in a while. Here’s hoping you enjoy what we have coming up.