This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Wild Research

In today’s installment of Wild Research, we will put the spotlight on one of my decks. This particular deck is one of my favorite experiments I have ever concocted. The deck was conceived in the midst of an arms race in one of my play groups. After the Commander product was released, many more people at my local game store started to play EDH. A month or so later, several people had decided EDH was not for them and given up, but everyone else started to tune and tweak their decks. Eventually an arms race ensued; cards like Myojin of Night’s Reach, Jin-Gitaxias, and Vorinclex became regular and recurring elements of our games and the meta game shifted to nearly all mid range control decks. The average game became a staring contest for 15 turns until someone dared to try to oppress the rest of the table. I quickly got bored and frustrated playing these games.

My first solution was to try the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em approach”. I tuned my decks to play a less interactive game of hand sculpting and two card combos. I was still dedicated to the idea I should be winning my fair share of the time. In short, this solution failed miserably. If anything, I hated playing more than I did before. I thought some more about the games, how they played out, and what I did not like about them. First I did not like the staring contest to 15 mana. Many of the decks were sculpting their perfect hand and waiting until they had enough mana to play out their whole win condition in one turn and have mana to protect it. More or less everyone was ignoring the early and mid game and waiting for the late game. I had already experimented a little bit with being an early aggressor, but this just focused the whole table on my demise. Second I hated feeling like I had to win all the time and getting frustrated when I could not. I am a very competitive person unless I deliberately focus on not winning. So I set out to build a deck that would only win by accident and launch the whole table from the early game to the late game as quickly as possible. Group hug naturally rose to the top of my good ideas list. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Wild Research


Horde Magic is a spectacular variant of Magic. I might even say that it is my favorite format, if I can call it a format, to play. You can find the rules and article that kicked Horde Magic off here. The beauty of Horde Magic is that there are almost no deck construction limits or rules. There are suggestions like all Horde spells cannot be countered, but if your buddy only has a legacy deck and you only have a standard deck there is no reason you cannot team up to vanquish the Horde. I have also found there are almost never games where the players get mad or complain about how the game played out. When you lose to a player-less stack of cardboard, all of a sudden people seem to be alright with the idea of losing. In fact, I have frequently witnessed a desire to play again because they are sure they know how to beat the Horde next time. Any format that drives people to play it more when they lose is great!

Building a Horde is a similarly unique and interesting project. Most Horde decks revolve around tokens that share a theme. The origin of the format was a zombie Horde though you could equally build a Horde for any other tribe or theme. You could extend the idea of zombies to include all undead. This is more or less how my friends built the first tiered Horde deck. We thought the idea of a zombie Horde would be fun, so everyone grabbed all of their 2/2 zombie tokens. It turned out that between all of us we had 20-30 tokens, no where near the target 60 we were looking for. So we branched out and looked at what black creature tokens we had a lot of. We ended up deciding to use 1/1 regenerating skeletons, 2/2 zombies, and 5/5 flying demons. Between the three groups we had nearly 60 tokens with which to build the Horde. Originally we may have tried a game or two with all of the tokens shuffled together randomly, but quickly realized that a pair of demons on the Horde’s first turn was almost unbearable. Read the rest of this entry »