This entry is part 1 of 23 in the series (Social) Contract form Below

By Nole AKA @mtgnole

90x90 noleHello and welcome to (Social) Contract from Below. My name is Nole Clauson and I will be your host  (and Demonic Attorney) for this series. I’ve been playing magic off and on since Portal and when I am not playing Commander or Cubing, I moonlight as a level 2 judge (Quick shameless plug for the judge program: If you are interested in becoming a judge, get with a local judge and get involved. The people in the judge community are truly some of the most hard-working people out there and their passion for this game is intoxicating to be around. We are always looking for more people to join us).

Together, we are going to look at the community that we, as commander players, foster and build. Commander is defined as a social format and has the unique nature of being about more than just winning. This “social contract” is what makes commander such a unique format. With that introduction out of the way, let’s get rolling.

If I say “commander for prizes,” what comes into your head?

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This entry is part 2 of 23 in the series (Social) Contract form Below

By Nole Clauson AKA mtgnole

90x90 noleHey everyone! Welcome back to (social) Contract from Below. First of all, thanks to all the people who took the time to e-mail me, or leave comments on my last article. It’s amazing to me to think that people actually are reading my work. That being said I always love getting feedback so feel free to contact me (all my contact info is at the end of my articles.

So onto today’s topic. There is a lot of fine print in the in the social contract that we are all (supposed to) be following in EDH. The main points of “EDH douche-baggery” are all pretty well laid out. If you blow up all my lands every turn, combo off with counter backup on turn three, or take 15 minute turns while the rest of us watch you play you have absolutely broken the social contract and may not be invited to play again. On the other hand, there are a lot of other ways to break the social contract and make the game miserable without committing any of these bigger trespasses. So today I am going to look at five cards that can break the social contract in different ways than the main ones. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 3 of 23 in the series (Social) Contract form Below

By Nole Clauson AKA @mtgnole


90x90 nole

Welcome back to Social Contract from below. First things first, thanks to everyone who took the time to leave comments on my last article. I really am getting a kick out of interacting with all of you (I have a habit of replying to almost all my comments) and it’s a huge boost for me to know that people are actually reading what I write. Also, I was recently on the podcast itself (Season 9, episode 5). I’d love to hear how you think I did. Big shout outs to William for letting my dip my toe in the podcasting pool (and editing it so I didn’t sound like a complete idiot) and to Chris for coming on so it wasn’t just me (even if he thinks Dromar, the Banisher is crap. #TeamDromar for life!).

There are several elements of the social contract that have to do with the cards we play. All of have dealt with (mostly new players or “competitive” GP pod grinders) who play cards/ build decks that violate the social contract we’ve come to expect as commander players. However, the other major violations of the social contract come from intangibles during a game, such as collusion, revenge plays, or poor threat assessment. However, in my not so humble opinion, the biggest offender is slow play (This came as a shock to no one who read my article deriding Sensei’s Diving Top). Today I’m going to give you two rules that my playgroups have developed to try to keep the game moving.

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This entry is part 4 of 23 in the series (Social) Contract form Below

By Nole Clauson AKA MtGNole

90x90 noleHello and welcome to another edition of (Social) Contract from Below. Unfortunately, between a sweet new job and midterms, real life has gotten in the way of doing anything magic related, including doing the due diligence for the article I was going to write this week. Rather than “phone it in” (the day I start doing that is the day that I stop writing), I’m going to hold off on talking about the color blue (hence the Eiffel65 music video at the end of my last article) and instead cover two different topics that I’ve been wanting to write about. While none of these could be an article on their own, they all have nifty interactions with the social contract and the nature of the format we play. Think of this week as ordering the Tour of Italy at Olive Garden. Yes, the portions are smaller, but you’ll still leave just as full.

Also, as promised on Twitter and in the comments of my previous article, other than this reference, there will be no mention of Sensei’s Divining Top in this article.

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This entry is part 5 of 23 in the series (Social) Contract form Below

By Nole Clauosn AKA MtGNole

90x90 noleI have a confession to make, the other night I ruined a game of Commander.

In all fairness it was not all my fault. I was had just moved back into town and did not know the shop I was playing at did not use the general damage rule. My deck of choice for the game was my mono-blue Thada Adel, Acquisitor deck. It’s a voltron deck that is designed to turn a land an opponent’s land into an island, get in with thada, steal the best artifacts in their deck (Thada has a propensity for jewelry and shoes), and eventually win via stealing someone’s sword of x and y and getting to 21. It runs a counterspell package to protect Thada as well as a permanent stealing suite to go with the theme of playing with other peoples’ toys. It’s a fun deck to play as well as fun to play against (one game I saw how many “staples” I could steal out of peoples’ decks. I ended that game with 5 sol rings (one was a metamorph), 4 tops, and 3 coalition relics. I may not have won the game but I won at life.)

However, without general damage, the deck struggles to win. The only avenue to victory becomes playing the deck as a blue permission deck. I stole the biggest thing on the table, countered anything that was an actual threat, and used my formerly innocuous “your land is now an island” enchantments to color hose players. While I won that game in the sense that I was the last player with any life left, it was absolutely miserable for everyone involved. When I finally finished off my last opponent with the two beaters I had stolen from his deck, I looked into the now dull and lifeless eyes of my opponents and, rather than feeling the pride of a hard won victory, felt the need to apologize.

So what can we take away from this (other than I need to leave Thada at home when I play with this group)? To me it was a case study on how not to play blue in Commander. The experience got the wheels in my brain turning on how to (and not to) play what is arguably the most maligned color in commander.

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This entry is part 6 of 23 in the series (Social) Contract form Below

By Nole Clauson AKA MtGNole

90x90 noleWelcome to this season’s final edition of (Social) Contract from Below. Today I want to take a little different direction than my previous articles. Rather than just talk about the social contract. I’d like to branch out and talk about something that I had (and I’m guessing most of you have) never actually seen before this came up.

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