This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series The Other 99

Posted by ‘KARSTON’ aka ‘TOPANDGO’

Hey everybody and thanks for watching another episode of The Other 99.  Today we tackle some mono-black goodness in the form of a Seizan, Perverter of Truth deck.  Now most mono-black decks that I have seen and played against have been pretty boring, featuring some variation of an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers ramp plan into a massive “X mana” spell, such as Exsanguinate.

This deck actually does run all three of the aforementioned cards, bu this deck’s strategy is completely different.  This deck plays with an archetype that I think may be a little bit underestimated in Commander: Pressure.  Ever have games that just seem to drag on forever, or have playgroups filled with control decks that stall the game?  Well pressure decks exist to speed up games by putting every player at the table on a clock that they either have to outrace or lose.  Sometimes this means that the pilot of the pressure deck ends up losing to his own clock, but the deck is usually built to try to bolster the its defenses against itself.

I personally think that this archetype deserves a little bit more love.  I personally have built a Zo-Zu, the Punisher pressure deck that I feel is a ton of fun to play.  Have you built a pressure deck of your own?


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 »

This entry is part 36 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

For the most part, I’ve left my personal life out of my articles; I like to write about groups that I’ve played with, decks I’ve tried and seen others play, and about individual cards more abstractly.  Today, we’ll shift off course a bit.  For the readers who don’t know me personally, I’m a father of two girls, ages four and one at the time of this writing.  My older daughter, Maggie, can read (though, not very quickly), likes games, dinosaurs and space (especially space travel, and celestial bodies).

After a few times watching myself, my wife and friends play Magic, Maggie decided that she wanted a Magic deck of her own, and it was only natural for me to want to build her a Commander deck, themed around dinosaurs.  Young children, of course, only have the vaguest of notions concerning formats, creature subtypes and the like, so the project was as much my own desire to see her happy with one of my hobbies as it was for Maggie to have a deck she could play with.  Of course, the problems with creating a dinosaur-themed deck for a child are numerous, and we didn’t quite reach the finish line as a result. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 35 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

On and off, I hear suggestions about ritual effects in Commander.  Dark Ritual sees very little play, and reasons are usually related to the advantage being ephemeral; you’re two turns ahead in terms of mana for one turn, and one card behind for the rest of the game.  Yet, I see many deck lists with its closest analogue, Mana Vault, including mono-black ones without Dark Ritual.  If you take a look at The Real Top 50, – a database with statistical information on what cards people play in decks posted online – Mana Vault is number 62 on the all time most popular list, where Dark Ritual doesn’t appear at all, not even when considered in mono-black decks where it is most likely to show up, given the narrowness of remaining options compared to other decks.

A quick look through my own decks shows that even I follow this trend; I love to play in the Grixis colours, and none of my decks with black – Rakdos, Lord of Riots, Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, and Ob Nixilis, the Fallen – contain it.  Yet, from those decks, both Ob Nixilis and Grimgrin have Mana Vault.  Should more players be running rites?  Maybe; read on. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 14 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion

Posted by Maxwellian2000
I am not ashamed to admit that I had no idea exactly how much Primeval Titan had warped my Commander experience.  Given the Rules Committee’s notoriously small ban list, I had zero inkling they were even considering doing away with one of the most popular cards in the format at the same time it predictably killed Worldfire.  When I found out about it that day in September, I was stunned.

A world without Prime Time forced a dramatic shift in how I would work with green going forward, and enough time has passed that we should now be able to begin assessing the ban’s impact.  The card’s ban has had the intended effect of taking green down a small, needed, peg, as evidenced by the difficulty I faced in attempting to duplicate Prime Time’s power.  But more importantly, I believe the ban may result in negative, unintended long-term effects that could hurt the format going forward. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »