This entry is part 39 of 41 in the series In General

Grandpa (Eric)

By Eric, AKA Grandpa Growth


Hello and happy holidays! I hope that you have all had plenty of time spend with your families this holiday season. If you‘re anything like this author, “spending time with your family” means playing Magic Online while pretending to do work on your laptop. Your distant relatives will be so impressed with your dedication and work ethic. “It’s unbelievable that you have to work all day during your holiday break,” they say. Little do they know you’re busy grinding out the perfect deck list on MTGO. Over the last couple months, I’ve had some exhilarating experiences in Commander. I’ve collected these photos from some of the more interesting games.


What Is This, Vintage?

If you don’t get to play Commander online very much, there are some important things you need to know. Mana is cheap. Because some keys cards like Mana Crypt have received special reprint treatments, they are very affordable on MTGO. This made many copies available for Commander players. As a result you can expect to see fast artifact mana in most games. This renders the format a much more explosive feel than what the average Commander player is used to. Heck, your second turn might just look like this:


What is this Vintage




Rolling. Squad. Deep.

Speaking of explosive starts, planeswalkers are a good way to cap off a strong ramp effort. Planeswalkers are some of the best threats in the game nowadays and much like Voltron, the more you hook up the better they get. I’ve yet to unlock the achievement for getting all five of the original planeswalkers in play at one time, though. I’ll have to save that for next year’s to-do list.


squad deep




Lol, Goblins!

Of course, sometimes the explosive draws happen on the other side of the table. I’d normally consider a turn five Progenitus a decent start in my 5-Color Oath deck, but you also don’t normally get attacked for more than a hundred. It takes more than a ham sandwich to win games in Commander, but this is enough Goblins to make a lot of sandwiches. Or maybe there’s enough hydra to make a Thanksgiving feast for the whole goblin burrow. I don’t know exactly who eats what here; I’m not a fantasy biologist.


lol goblins





My mulligan decisions are world class. Depending on who you ask though, that’s either a compliment or an insult. This shot was taken in a match with my Maelstrom Wanderer deck, where I routinely keep land-heavy hands. It’s just the nature of the archetype. Wanderer is a mana-hungry deck full of ramp spells. In many situations, Wanderer is powerful enough to bring you Back From the Brink by itself. Even one decent Cascade can get you back in the driver’s seat and seven points of hasty Commander damage can apply some serious pressure. I don’t generally endorse keeping seven-land hands, but for the record I kept it and swept it! (That means I won.) For my tastes, Wanderer is the most fun you can have in Commander.


snap keep





If you know me, then you know that I can’t possibly turn this hand down. This spicy little number is just one signet away from becoming MUY CALIENTE!!! Really though, this hand is a pile of hot garbage by just about any metric. It doesn’t have acceleration, early card advantage, removal, or any type of disruption. We do have Cruel Ultimatum, though. So, we got that going for us. This hand is much worse because a Nicol Bolas deck can’t close a game with Maelstrom Wanderer. Also, a Marchesa deck (the opponent) is likely to apply more pressure. That being said, I kept it…and swept it. Again.


sssssnnaaaaap keep




Milled Out?! Also, Look At That Duplicant!

So this is biggest Duplicant I’ve ever had in play. It imprinted a Consuming Aberration. Previously, I didn’t think it worked that way, but I’m no judge. So I had a giant robot assassin. If you have more power in play than your opponent has life remaining, you are usually in a good position to win. Sadly, that was not the case in this game. As you might have inferred from the fact that the opponent had a Consuming Aberration, they were playing some sort of “Mill You” deck, which you don’t see too often in a format where anyone could be packing an Eldrazi to automatically reshuffle their graveyard. Still though, he got the better of me in this game and did, in fact, manage to mill me out for the win.


milled out, also giant duplicant




Fun-dhorn Duel

That awkward moment when you play a turn one Fyndhorn Elves and then your opponent plays a turn one Fyndhorn Elves. I’ve been playing Commander for several years now. This is the first time I’ve ever had both players open up with identical first turns. You see many similar hands in Standard, but rarely do you get this type of symmetry in a game of Commander. Even more so when you consider that we both laid basic forests in three color decks.


fundhorn duel




Build Your Own Exsanguinate

I heard some people that hang around on this website don’t like Exsanguinate. This sounds like first world multiplayer problems to me. Regardless, for all those want to tear down the evil Exsanguinate empire (say that five times fast), I have created a DIY kit for you to make locally sourced, responsibly made Drain Life substitutes that are carbon neutral and let you draw cards! First we’re going to need an emblem from an old Ob Nixilis Reignited. I like to pick these up second hand from my local game store after Standard FNM’s. Once you have the emblem, stick it to your opponent’s face like a missing cat flier. Now all you need to do is get in touch with your local state legislator Sphinx to let them know where you stand on the important issue of drawing cards. There you have it, a grass roots Exsanguinate! Neat!


Build your own exsanguinate




Ten. The Hard Way.

Sometimes you can use the Polymorph. That’s cool, I guess. I prefer to not just tap a whole mess of lands and slam the Progenitus on the table.


hardcast progenitus




Koth Emblem

When you play Commander, you’re bound to see some planeswalkers running around. That makes plenty of opportunities for you to “go ultimate.” During the testing process for my Norin the Wary deck, this was the one time I actually got an emblem for my Koth of the Hammer. On the one hand, I only had one mountain in play, so I wasn’t exactly “going off”; on the other hand, my opponent only had one life left to live.


koth emblem




Progenitus Is Also Sweet

I’ve never really been a fan of the premium foil cards in Magic. They’re distracting and make cards more difficult to read. Yea, whatever, I’m not a real grandpa. I can still act like I’m old and crotchety. GET OFF MY LAWN!.


In the world of cardboard, foiling results in higher sensitivity to moisture, temperature, and a higher likelihood of bending/warping. So while premium foil copies will always hold high value for collectors, it can be difficult to protect those expensive foils from wear that could impact their price appreciation. I’ve never heard a convincing explanation of why there are foils on MTGO, but apparently people like them. People do a great many things that I don’t understand.


Despite my personal feelings, I still respect hard work when I see it. Shout out to MadZmith for putting together an all foil list for Meren of Clan Nel Toth.


meren is sweet, foils are sweet, progenitus is also sweet




Da Moon Rulz #1

The Moon has five hundred dimensions. Don’t question it, Fry Man!  


the power of blood moon


*Editor’s Note: If you’d rather check out all the images above in the comfort of a spiffy Google Drive folder instead, here ya go. 


Happy Holidays.



“In General” is the place where I share my ideas on unconventional topics that are often only tangentially related to Magic. This column is a mixed bag where I collect and present ideas that don’t have a home anywhere else. If you want a column about strategy, psychology, design, economics, philosophy, internet culture, and referential humor, you have come to the right place.

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