This entry is part 17 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

In this week’s podcast, a few speakers thought that one of the things missing from their current Commander experience was that feeling of slinging dollar rares, playing with old, worthless stuff that could be cobbled together into a decent and unique deck that would be wildly different than the next person’s.  Contrast this with how Commander often looks today, where players have ‘staples’, and there are decks that one could build, with lists available on the internet.  Sometimes, they have play guides.

To be frank, I have no such nostalgia.  This isn’t because I don’t find that ‘wild west’ sort of environment appealing, where everybody shows up with their own shtick and originality is a matter of course.  Rather, it’s because I started playing Commander a year and half ago.  By that time speculation on dollar bin rares, while not quite as crazy as it is now, was really getting into gear and internet resources were in full swing. Read the rest of this entry »

By Andy aka GHoooSTS
I wouldn’t normally have bothered with this, but I needed some content to fill a gap from a flame-out and I’ve had this video cold-chillin’ on my hard drive for a while so the time seemed appropriate to unleash it upon y’all. This is the often-requested decklist of mine for the rather aggressive Radha, Heir to Keld list I built pretty close to two years ago and have been playing pretty frequently since. Of my crap decks, this one people seem the most interested in by a broad margin, so I couldn’t see much purpose in not letting people know the contents.

Let me preface this by saying this isn’t a particularly good or well-constructed deck. It doesn’t win an extraordinary number of games or anything. To me, all my decks are ‘casual’ decks, and they’re all ‘fun’; it’s not some ridiculous pocket secret-weapon I bring out to fight tryhards with. I hope the deck isn’t too disappointing. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 16 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

There is a class of card in Magic I like to think of as ‘extortion’ cards.  These cards give opponents a choice, usually between two negative outcomes of differing varieties.  Perhaps the most famous extortion card is Browbeat.  Browbeat gives an opponent the option of losing 5 life.  If they decline, the Browbeat player draws 3 cards.  It should be noted that either of these effects are powerful for Browbeat’s inexpensive mana cost; in a duel, a burn player would be happy to gain significant ground on their opponent’s life total, or to draw more cards to find more burn cards.

Extortion cards are interesting for two reasons.  The first is that they tend to be cheap for the effects they provide.  The second is that the multiplayer dynamic entirely changes how extortion cards play out. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 15 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

One of the last games of Commander I played involved the use of Pestermite and Splinter Twin by an opponent, on turn four.  This is highly abnormal for most of the groups I play with.  The player who comboed out simply scooped and the rest of the table continued on with the understanding that PesterTwin won the game, and that the rest of us were playing for “second place” or “victory in the losers’ bracket”.  PesterTwin seemed happy enough that he won, even though he spent the next hour or so lying on a nearby couch while the rest of us played a ‘real’ game of Commander.  In short, his presence was fairly innocuous; the only thing PesterTwin did in that game was win it, and the rest of us easily continued on as though he had never been there.

Combo is often derided by Commander players as an non-interactive deck archetype that sucks the fun out of games.  Yet, PesterTwin gleefully took his victory and bowed out, and the rest of us were, casual jokes aside, pleased enough to continue playing.  The line between an acceptable combo and an unacceptable one is often blurry.  This week, I offer some clarity and advice on how – but not necessarily where – to draw the line between combos that are fun and combos that are not.  Of course, this will be minimally objective, and your group’s reaction to combo may be totally different than mine. Read the rest of this entry »

i wannt shark
lol we got him again

This entry is part 14 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

A card that gets a fair amount of press in the Commander community with fairly little explanation is Torpor Orb.  To veteran players, the application is obvious; Commander players always want more value and flexibility out of their cards since games go long, and higher costs can be paid.  Naturalize gives way to Acidic Slime for flexibility, the bonus deathtouch blocker, along with more and better recursion potential.  Having a spell effect ‘with legs’ is simply better, no matter how weak it seems.  A creature with an entering the battlefield ability could hold a Sword of Protection and Value, serve as a blocker, or sneak in some early damage against players with slower starts.

The same can be said for a huge number of commonly played cards; Shriekmaw, Angel of Despair, Chancellor of the Spires, Chancellor of the Forge and Draining Whelk are all examples of cards players run for the value added for having a body.  Additionally, there are plenty of other singularly powerful creatures that just happen to operate on an entering the battlefield basis, like Avenger of Zendikar, Iname, Death Aspect, or Sunblast Angel.  Some aren’t even creatures, like Warstorm Surge and Pandemonium.  If you play Commander for more than a few months, all this will feel familiar.  Enter Torpor Orb.
Read the rest of this entry »