Magical Good Old Times

November 25, 2011

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Crossover Month

Dominik is the administrator of Completely Casual, one of the first CommanderCast affiliate sites and author of such classics as Trading In The Smartphone Age and Announcing… From the Vault: Hot Chicks. If anybody can be considered a ‘hardcore casual’, then Dominik would be the posterchild for the demographic. For more of his material, head over to where you’ll find not just his own works, but articles and videos from other contributors as well.

“In the past, even the future was better!” At least that is what Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin said. So obviously MtG: Commander, or better Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), should have been a better format in the good old days, too. You know, those times when EDH was just this quirky format those crazy Judges where playing after the real tournament had ended. In a time before they even invented the Internet for netdecking. A time where you were on your own. Out in the wild. A time where you did not have to worry about the Erayo, Soratami Ascendant-Prison-Lock-Deck. A more moderate, slower, more peaceful time. A time when Urza and Mishra where still fighting arms deep in clockwork-creatures (like Clockwork Horse) to find out who was boss. An age when terms like Voltron-Decks, Douchbaggery or Group-Hug had not been coined.

The Casual Inquisition was probably already there, but still wearing diapers. Long before they even started burning players on the stake (not the stack). It was an innocent time with endless possibilities and limitless potential. Now it is time to look back at these days and reminisce on the long way EDH has come to finally evolve into MtG:Commander.

So today we will have a Blast from the Past, when we return to the very foundation of EDH. To the good old days, when they just had released the Ice Age-Block. You know, the times when Brainstorm was probably worse than Portent. Back then it was common place to use Duals in your EDH because they where crazy cheap. Also power pieces like Timetwister or the all available uncommon Force of Will where still easy to come by. Just like how before EDH came around, some people thought it was ludicrous that Black Lotus was 20 bucks. Current Head Designer Mark Rosewater including, as he once stated in an interview.

What has the future brought for Magic: the Gathering since then, you might ask? – and the simple answer would be: A lot! The game has since changed in unmeasurable amounts. It changed not only in form, but also in function. Starting with more streamlined card texts, continuing with more streamlined rules. Finally even a new card frame, something I have always been disgusted with. Not because I did not like the new design, in its futuristic form with curved lines and smooth appearance. But rather I dislike the fact, that from now on, till end of the game, there will be two designs in Magic: the Gathering. Something that always looks strange in my eyes, maybe even stupid, when holding a hand of cards with different designs.

Also the crude picturesque drawings and comic style have vanished from the game since then. While in the past you could encounter cards with art like Fork or Unlikely Alliance, this has changed. I always liked the way Kaja Foglio drew her babes and am still saddened by the fact that we cannot get any cards like Touch of Brilliance these days anymore. Art in Magic changed from simple fantasy drawings to computer enhanced streamlined graphics. We get computer generated light effects and smooth color transitions, impossible to draw in real life. Emo Jace (aka Jace, Memory Adept) is only the prime example. Probably we had to go with time there, to catch a younger audience with modern design and modern graphics. But everybody is nostalgic in some way. My nostalgic spot is there. Nothing better there, than true oldschool fantasy drawings. Hopefully with busty girls in chainmail bikinis, chained to a dragon’s claw in a desert Wasteland. 😉

In remembrance of the good old times, where we still could look out for a better, brighter future, I built an old school EDH deck. I hope you enjoy it. A good old school control deck, without all the degenerate stuff from the future we live in. So I pledge you today, to remember the good old times – as one day, all we have will be our sweet memories of the game we love. We are having a good run here with the game, but I am sure there will not be a new set coming out the year I move to the retirement home. History has been kind to Magic. So let us raise our glasses of fine (at least 12 year old) Whiskey to Richard and Mark, and all those other gamers who made the game survive this long.

Karl Valentin also once said: “Today is the good old times of tomorrow.” So let us see what the future brings for the Format we now call MtG: Commander.

This is the way EDH probably looked like back then:

[mtg_deck title=”Back to the Roots”]
1 Arcades Sabboth

Basic Lands
10 Islands
6 Plains
6 Forest

Mana Lands
1 Savannah
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Aysen Abby
1 City of Brass
1 Adarkar Wastes
1 Brushland
1 Veldt
1 Land Cap
1 School of the Unseen

Ability Lands
1 Tolaria
1 Strip Mine
1 Pendelhaven
1 Mishra’s Factory
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
1 Soldevi Excavations
1 Desert
1 Thawing Glaciers

Non-Mana Lands
1 Maze of Ith
1 Ice Floe
1 Island of Wak-Wak

Blue Spells
1 Braingeyser
1 Control Magic
1 Counterspell
1 Power Sink
1 Steal Artifact
1 Timetwister
1 Amnesia
1 Deflection
1 Mana Drain
1 Memory Lapse
1 Recall
1 Library of Lat-Nam
1 Browse
1 Lat-Nam’s Legacy
1 Arcane Denial
1 Mystic Remora
1 Binding Grasp
1 Portent
1 Force of Will

Blue Creatures
1 Clone
1 Mahamoti Djinn
1 Vesuvan Doppelganger
1 Air Elemental
1 Deep Spawn
1 Time Elemental

White Spells
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Disenchant
1 Wrath of God
1 Divine Offering
1 Dust to Dust
1 Land Tax
1 Moat
1 Exile
1 Reprisal

White Creatures
1 Serra Angel

Green Spells
1 Regrowth
1 Desert Twister
1 Renewal
1 Sylvan Library
1 Untamed Wilds

Green Creatures
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Cockatrice
1 Autumn Willow
1 Willow Satyr

1 Angus Mackenzie
1 Rubinia Soulsinger
1 Sir Shandlar of Eberyn
1 Hymn of Rebirth

1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Icy Manipulator
1 Forcefield
1 Disrupting Scepter
1 Basalt Monolith
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Sol Ring
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Phyrexian Portal


‘Till next time, keep it casual my dear readers, even when tapping cards with the new design.

Dominik Schönleben

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