This entry is part 489 of 542 in the series CommanderCast

Hello everyone and welcome to CommanderCast Episode 451! This week Mark and Adam are speeding things up, so fast in fact that some of the formats mana rocks might become obsolete. With the current mana cost of newer Commanders, better options in lands, spells, and other artifacts… is there any room left for the 3 CMC mana producing artifacts of old? But first, the guys want to ask you, yes you, how you feel about the history of EDH or Commander? Is it something important enough to visit in the future or is the past best left alone? Then, to wrap things up the guys want to take a look at a few of the 3 CMC mana rocks we would like to consider as being still viable… maybe.


All that, plus our usual interstitial fodder, and all you have to do is Click the IB!!!


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CommanderCast Episode 451

Posted: August 2, 2021








Keep up with the conversation on Facebook & Twitter.




How important is the history of EDH to you? Should it be?


*Random must read: “Guns and (Shea) Butter: An Oral History of ‘Predator’,” by Pete Keeley


Interstitial fodder: 

  • Breakfast pie (as in pie for breakfast)
  • Mark bought an arcade fight stick and it’s all Adam’s fault
  • Adam’s side hustle in strategy guides
  • Sexy Beasts is pretty meh. Shocker.




When the game got too fast for 3-mana rocks


*Editor’s Note: as with most oral histories, all the dates (and statements) listed below should be taken with a grain of salt. Trying to piece together the history of a diverse, community-driven format like Commander will always be more art than science.  That said, I would love to hear from anyone out there that has more to add to the discussion or thinks we’ve overlooked something important here. This should be treated like an ongoing discussion instead of a definitive resource.


  • Pour one out on the curb for Darksteel Ingot
  • Avg. CMC of Legendary creatures from this period?
    • 4.52 for all Commanders total (up to today)
    • ‘94 to ‘14: 4.89
    • ‘14 to the present: 4.19


Magic sets of note in this period:


  • Keyrunes
    • Return to Ravnica released Oct. 5, 2012 
    • Gatecrash released Feb. 1, 2013
  • Cluestones
    • Dragon’s Maze released May 3, 2013
  • Banners
    • Khans of Tarkir released Sept 26, 2014 


From Spleenface’s description of the evolution of cEDH in the r/cEDH Reddit thread:


“The first deck I’ve seen that was recognizable as a competitive EDH deck was Bryant’s Pile of Broken. It was a dimir storm deck made in late 2008. It won with tendrils, and had Tidespout Tyrant, Top/Future combos, Ad Nauseam and High Tide.


  • Zur’s first primer also appears around this time, though presumably people were playing zur and necropotence earlier than this.

  • Scion Hermit Druid was created in late 2010 with the printing of Necrotic ooze enabling efficient wins off of dread return.

  • 2011, the printing of Laboratory Maniac in Innistrad made Doomsday a much more viable archetype, while also cleaning up the Hermit druid decks.

  • Commander also added Mimeoplasm, Animar, Karador and Edric. New phyrexia added melira for persist combos, as well as village bell-ringer for Kiki[-Jikki] combos, though they do not seem to have really had a home yet.

  • 2012 added Deadeye navigator, opening up palinchron combos along with Phantasmal Image that was printed the previous year. As far as I can tell, the “scion hermit druid is the best deck” meme came into existence sometime in 2011/12. Mikaeus was also printed, enabling the triskelion combos.


We’ll call this the end of the “early” era, because with 2013, the pace of new stuff being added starts to skyrocket.


  • 2013 was huge. Jeleva, Marath, Prossh, Derevi were all quickly made in to very competitive decks of various styles, many of them being banned out of 1v1 formats as well

  • 2014 added boonweaver giant, which was where karador hatebears/boonweaver became one of the top decks. Daretti stax was a thing for a bit, but greatly overshadowed in C14 by Teferi, Temporal Archmage and The Chain Veil (in M15) as well as Narset for the turns deck and Sidisi for the FC/Hermit druid deck in KTK. Conspiracy also added Brago, contesting GAAIVs seat for the UW crown. Yisan was also printed, though I’m not sure if he saw much play before Temur Sabertooth was printed in 2015.

  • 2015 added Tasigur and JVP, but not a lot else. The format wasn’t changing a huge amount, but lots of refinement started happening, and the meta was somewhat solidifying from the shake ups in 2013/14

  • 2016 was the start of an unstoppable series of events. It began with the printing of Dramatic Reversal in Kaladesh, solidifying a really efficient infinite mana wincon, then the Partners printed in C16. Gitrog was also printed in the summer, as was Leovold and Selvala in Conspiracy 2. General Tazri and Eternal Scourge were printed, leading to the first true 5c food chain deck as we see it today.

  • 2017 continued the rolling punches of 2016, with Pengine printed in January, then [Protean] Hulk unbanned in the spring. This was the start of the more modern era of cEDH, with content creators like the laboratory maniacs and Team Turn Three coming on to the scene. We also got Razaketh in HOU, and Kess in C17.


I’ll stop there, most of what happened since is more readily available, and I think it’s the start of our current “period” of cEDH.


From my email exchange with Don Miner (founder of EDHREC)


  • September 25th 2014: Don registers the domain name. It started out as a service that just analyzed your deck and provided recommendations (basically the “Recs” tab). 


  • Expanded to have commander summary pages around June of 2015, which is when traffic started picking up.


  • Also, for about a year before the domain was registered EDHREC had a reddit bot that just posted deck recommendations in the comments of a reddit thread.


See also: 




3-mana rocks that are still worth running 



*See also: 




CommanderCast  – Email: commandercast(at)gmail(dot)com // twitter: (at)CommanderCast


Calvin – Email: captainredzone(at)gmail(dot)com  // twitter: (at)CaptainRedZone


Mark – Email: mahlerma(at)gmail(dot)com


Adam – (at)squire9999


Be sure to check out our CommanderCast Facebook page. 


And a big thanks to everyone here at the CommanderCast Network. We’ll see you next week with more community, strategy, and technology. Until then, LET’S GET IT!

Series Navigation<< CommanderCast Ep 450 – You Breach Hulls, You Get BannedCommanderCast Ep 452 – Is it Worth It to Try to Keep Up With All the New Cards? >>

4 Responses to “CommanderCast Ep 451 – When The Game Got Too Fast For 3-Mana Rocks”

  1. thefallingflowerpot said

    Well you asked for community feedback so this might be a long one. I think it’s funny you keep saying this is a 4th/5th string edh podcast because I think it’s top tier. Like 70% of the episodes coming out from other groups are set reviews which get old fast, 25% deck techs, then maybe 5% interesting discussion about the format and broader concepts. You guys are always doing interesting topics or fun reviews like all modular cards. (edit: I meant modal, not modular)

    I do like hearing the discussions on stuff like format history and yes this isn’t actual history but I think we can still look at how the format evolved and based on that imagine where it’s going. Are 2 mana rocks eventually going to be too slow and we’ll all start having to play Jeweled Amulet?

    I was struggling to think of a way get any kind of date for when 3 mana rocks fell out of favor and the keyrunes and cluestones was smart. I had been playing edh for awhile when the cluestones came out and even on release I didn’t put them in any decks. I think older data from edhrec is still saved somewhere it’s just not publicly available. Looking at the popularity of something like fellwar stone would be interesting because I remember feeling like it was something of a hidden gem 5/6 years ago when everyone was play 3’s.

    I’m a big fan of Midnight Clock and Mark, you should play it as much as you want. Knowing that you’ll draw 7 in 3 turn cycles is amazing. Just make sure you empty your hand by then, counter/kill something you wouldn’t usually counter/kill then fill all the way back up. You can also tap the clock on the turn you sac it for a blue in case you draw an instant you want to cast.

    One last thing, have you checked out mtgnexus? I believe it’s where a lot of the mtgsalvation folks moved when it shut down.

  2. Dadsquatch said

    So, important things first. My favorite type of pie, in general, is Dutch Apple. I’m a simple man when it comes to pie. However, I can tell you the best piece of pie I have ever had in my life was at a place called O-Pie-O in Cincinnati. It was called Honey Vinegar Pie, but before you get grossed out, it basically tasted like chess pie, cheesecake and baklava had a delicious baby. It was transcendent and life-affirming.

    I think once Arcane Signet was printed in the Eldraine Brawl decks and Talismans were completed in every color combination in Modern Horizons, that’s when I truly felt like I stopped using 3 mana rocks on the regular. I still have a special place in my heart for Coalition Relic, since you can do shenanigans with charge counters, but I have stopped putting Commander’s Sphere in most of my decks, unless I’m saccing it for an egg or recurring it with something like Sun Titan. Also, can I say how hilarious it is that Fellwar Stone has been printed 10 times, and yet it is still more expensive than Arcane Signet. It’s not strictly worse, but man, is it close. Say it with me now, “Cards printed in The Dark are inherently …”

    I still have seen Darksteel Ingot played in decks that run the Chain of Acid combo, but with Skyclave Relic and the new indestructible artifact lands from MH2, there’s not much point except for redundancy.

    I use Honor-Worn Shaku both in my Abzan Superfriends deck (Kethis general) and in my Yomiji, Who Bars the Way legendary deck. I’m glad to hear it’s working well for others too.

    I think the history of EDH is neat, but I don’t know if it’s important. I think it will be important someday after Sheldon and the original RC are gone and hopefully we can look back in pride at what our hobby has become. Then again, Sheldon is 60, and I’m only 15 years out from that, so he might outlive me. I think we have all seen EDH turn from an odd subset of a nerd game for people who appreciated hipster nuance and maybe crossed over the Venn Diagram of people who have a love for B, C and D roster characters from fighting games into what it is now, a dominant format that appeals to all levels of play.

    In relation to that, don’t ever call yourself a 5th or 6th rate podcast. Production-wise, sure, no bells or whistles, but I have listened to this podcast for 9 years running and I still appreciate that I can listen in and feel like I’m having a conversation about EDH with friends that inevitably slips over into other subjects like movies, music, and food. You two are just very genuine and don’t try to bullshit anyone else into thinking otherwise. Age may bring many shitty things, but it also breeds authenticity and honesty. You aren’t beholden to any advertisers, thank god, and you don’t fawn over new stuff unless you have a real, unbridled geek-boner for it. I don’t want to hear about deck tech and set reviews all the time, sometimes I want to hear about dumb cards and why Robert Smith is inherently better than Morrisey. (Hint: For starters, Robert is an _actual_ Smith). Commandercast is still my favorite podcast about EDH, hands down, and I’m not just
    “S-ing your D” , as Mark would say.

    I had no idea strategy guides were worth anything. I have a Marvel vs Capcom 2 Prima guide still. It’s out of stock on Amazon and it’s selling for anywhere between $50-$90 on Ebay…holy crap! Anyone remember the days of going to a Geocities site to print off character moves for a fighting game on a dot matrix printer? Man, memories.

  3. Jeremy Parsons said

    I don’t think it’s the change in mana rocks that made things faster, so much as the power creep of surrounding cards. I suppose one could argue that Mana Crypt was reprinted and became more available then it ever was for the longest time. But beyond that, I think it’s just the printing of more efficient commanders that have really sped things up.
    Beyond that, WOTC has felt safe with 3 mana rocks for ages. Each set usually has one, and there’s all sorts of upsides on them. The man rocks, the indestructibles, the ones with extra mana, or card draw. Heck, I even loved Vessel of Endless Rest early on for a mana rock that had utility as graveyard interaction. And even now, WOTC is printing more of them, be it Eldraine’s Midnight Clock, the Cursed Mirror, or even Strixhaven Stadium. I love their interest in feeling safe to explore this space.
    Mmm, Somewhere between the printing of the mono-colored commander decks and the past few years is when the real striation between power levels occurred. For the longest time I didn’t worry about including Aura Shards at all. But then I hit a point of striation in my own decks. Horde of Notions and Garza Zol were too potent for normal play, I felt dirty using them. And later on the whole thing with Expropriate… huh, Conspiracy II was also in 2016. But Expropriate really highlighted more changes in deck tiers too. I think that’s really when I started focusing on what are the games I really want to play, and a meta with counterspells and Expropriate wasn’t it. (I’m not huge against Counterspells, but Expropriate is the kind of spell that if it’s in a deck, the opponents should have more counterspells to stop it.)
    Expropriate in 2016, Torment of Hailfire in 2017. Both quite ugh. Before that point I’d be much more willing to let all kinds of EDH decks play against each other. After that I definitely felt there were more tiers that actively shouldn’t mix with each other. Casual, Sporting, Power level 8(Expropriate), Anything Goes, and cEDH.
    My sporting decks lack the tools to deal with Expropriate type spells. Meanwhile, there’s a realm where Mana Flare and kin are fine for Casual decks, but not fine with decks at my own power level. Similar goes for things like Planechase, which I think works better with lower powered decks. The Expropriate type decks still consider themselves casual but powered. The Anything goes do all kinds of things that aren’t quite there for cEDH, but still not remotely casua or on the social contractl. Jeskai Ascendency when played in Vadrok is not remotely a casual card for instance.
    Mmm, even Thrasios and Tymna are 2016 cards. Right. I blame 2016 for all this.

  4. Alex Cook said

    Great episode! I really enjoy the view Mark and Adam take on the format and it’s history… And I guess I need an arcade joystick lol

    As far as rocks go, I agree with another poster that the rocks themselves aren’t the issue but the cards that have been printed since that almost force us as players to employ faster mana or else we just aren’t in the game…

    Again great episode gents!

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