This entry is part 01 of 2 in the series Community

By William Hernandez


Hey Commander faithful! William here to tell you about the new structures we’re putting up after MUCH delay (mostly due to everyone being busy. Damn you holiday season!) I’ll explain what we’re doing as far as content production from now on, why we’re doing it, as well as how YOU can be a part of it! So without further ado, let’s get started.


Some of you might remember that a while back, I had the opportunity to write for Dear Azami over on StarCityGames. I had a ton of fun putting the deck together, but wow was that a lot of work just to look up card prices. (Of course SCG pays well, so if I ever got offered the chance to write again I’d snap it up in a heartbeat).


After I done I realized just how easy it was to slide in and write the article. It was an established brand. They had a formula they could give the writers and take their pick based on who could produce the best content from it. Most importantly, they could alternate writers and still have a consistent product.

So I thought about it myself. One of our problems here on Commandercast is that we have a problem trying to keep web-based content a constant. Matt’s been doing a hell of a job with Dodo bird commander, and we have a few authors who are doing their best but it’s just not at the level that I want for the website.


Part of that’s because we rely on volunteers to produce content. Everyone does this of their own volition. We don’t have any sponsoring or any other means of making money off of this, and if we did it would have to go to paying the web hosting fees before anything else. So when life gets in the way (and trust me, life will find a way to pry itself into your hobbies if you’re not passionate about something), writing for Commandercast tends to be one of the first things that people drop. I get it. It happens. But it causes problems for readers who want to find something to latch onto and their favorite series keep getting dropped.


We can get new writers who are eager to try their chops at producing work for us, but it takes time to build up an audience and newer writers get discouraged when nobody comments with feedback. The audience rarely provides feedback because they either can’t connect to the article or don’t feel too strongly one way or the other. It’s a cycle that keeps repeating until the writer either quits or the audience finally feels like they have something they like enough to support.


The other problem with a revolving door of writers is that they each have their own topics of discussion. They all want to make their mark. They come up with new columns that we’re happy to run, but end up getting abandoned. This is hell for our archive, which is pretty horribly maintained to begin with.


So what are we going to do about all of this? Why, we’re going to introduce “brand columns”!


COMMUNITY: To write and inform regarding community relevant topics.


As you might have seen, today’s announcement article is a community piece. I’m writing this to tell everyone about changes to our website because it affects things about Magic outside the game itself. It’s a good spot to collect Commander relevant news outside of spoilers, like San Diego Comic Con’s announcement of the 2014 Commander decks.


We also want this to be a column that inspires discussions about community based topics as they come up. For example, are you worried about Wizards possibly over printing this year’s pre-cons to the point where it discourages them from printing this openly again? Is it a good thing that Wizards printed so many “staples” in these decks with this print volume? (If you’re one of the people who was counting on that Wurmcoil Engine to buy your next standard deck you probably aren’t).


Writers for this article will be allowed to their perspective on different social contract issues as long as they do it in a way that’s constructive and clearly explains why they feel as such. Community articles will be posted on Tuesdays.


STRATEGY: To help with the development of players interested in learning.


This is more of our bread and butter type of articles. Like the definition states, this column is looking to provide articles that are either going to help players get better. We can do deck help columns (similar to Dear Azami, only without the corporate muscle backing it up), deck techs, primers, challenges, and most anything to do with deck building in general. (Hayes’s “Let’s Kill” series fits into this type of column).


Feel like there are certain types of decks that are dominating the meta? We’ll show you how to play with or against those kinds of decks. Need to figure out how much removal you need to run efficient mono-green? Ask anyone other than me. Personally, I’m STILL trying to figure that one out.


Writers will be able to write about different decks that they find interesting or provide good examples of what they’re trying to write about. It’s easy to say articles about Azami ramp are boring because it’s just “play lands, then play eldrazi and win”, but what really goes into that? Why does a deck like that do as well as it does and what can we glean from that to make something similar, if more exciting?


Strategy articles will be posted on Wednesdays.


TECHNOLOGY: To inspire and push the boundaries of what we can do in Commander


This column is going to go in-depth on individual cards. This is the place where “build around me” cards take the spotlight, akin to the main podcast’s “pre-packaged” segment. Isochron Sceptre gets mentioned a lot on the show, but what kinds of cards can use to really make this card insane? What sorts of fun can you have when you tune your deck to use Sunforger to the fullest? Were you aware you could grab more than just a Sol Ring with Trinket Mage? What about the latest cards that were just spoiled? I bet we could come up with a spicy new deck to build something pretty cool! How is the author going to rate these cards?


This column is meant to inspire deck building, rather than hand you a decklist outright like the strategy column does, meaning that it’s the perfect column for an entourage segment! If the author has a few ideas that they can’t quite put together, they’ll have the freedom to write up a few of their ideas for a particular general just to get it out there. We’ll let the audience do with it as they will. Maybe some great decks will come back, and we’ll feature them in the strategy column!


Of course, the Terastodon in the room is that there’s going to be some overlap with the strategy column, and that’s okay. Writing about Magic is like that sometimes. Where that overlap will be exactly is hard to define right now, so I’m not too worried about it.


Technology articles will run on Fridays.


All three columns are labeled after our  main segments on the show because we feel like they truly represent the key pillars for what makes for interesting Commander discussion. Authors will be free to name their articles, but we’re flying those articles under these three banners.


The plan is for myself (as well as other current website authors) to write these articles and get the momentum going. But of course, we can’t do it alone. We need YOU, yes you dear readers! We need people to share the workload.


Ideally we will have two people per column. That way you’re writing only every other week and have two weeks to turn in your deadline, so you have more time to actually come up with something you’re happy with rather than writing something up at the last hour (much like I’m doing right now). If you don’t think you can stick to a strict deadline, then consider submitting a stand alone article as a guest writer. We’ll hold onto it until we either need a break for one of our writers or we have an open spot.


Remember, just because this is a volunteer based system doesn’t mean we’re okay with people who are going to flake out on  us. Everyone on our current staff is working hard to try and help Commandercast to reach new heights of recognition and content. We don’t need nor want anyone we’re going to have to constantly badger to get their content in on time. It’s not fair to our editors or our readers.


And that should do it! I’m really happy with this current plan, but we need your help to make it happen! I consider myself blessed that I had people answer my call for new writers when I first took over the website almost two years ago. A couple of them are still with us in one form or another, so why don’t you join them?


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9 Responses to “Community – Please fill in these three columns here…”

  1. GUDoug said

    Dammit you have 8 days of seniority over me based on when out first articles were posted…unless we count the community article I got posted 3 months prior to our official start as writers on CommanderCast.

  2. Andrew Fornes said

    I’ve been tossing around the idea in my head of doing technology articles for people to look at and get some fresh ideas and seeing this seemed like sign. Should I just write up a tech article and send it to you guys via email? I’m currently a college student & love listening to the podcast. Keep up the good work.

    • GUDoug said

      Thanks for the interest. I will go ahead and answer for William. You can write up an article, put it on google docs and then share the link with commandercast(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Wally D. said

    Hope this new strategy works well for CommanderCast. The world can never have too much Commander content! Hmm, maybe I’ll submit an article as a guest writer one of these days.

  4. Zessica Wong said

    Can you guys provide like a Gogole Docs mother account for us to hook up our submissions?

    • Commandercast said

      Actually we have one! Knowledge Pool 2.0 I’ll see if there’s a way for us to make it a little more available for direct submissions. Until then, go ahead and send us an email with your article and we’ll send you an invite to the folder.

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