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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
Dec 21 2018 1:00pm
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Recently Rachel Agnes over at Channel Fireball wrote up a rebuttal to Sheldon Memory’s article about Commander Cards You Shouldn’t Play, focusing on why you SHOULD play some of the more explosive and powerful cards in the EDH format as well as offering outs for yourself to mitigate the downsides. But I disagree, here’s why. As much as I appreciate that more competitive players exist and want to play cards such as Mindslaver, Armageddon and Back to Basics, as a more casual player who wants to have fun, I feel like I need to back up and double down on my "I want to have fun and let me do cool stuff" mantra.

WHY DO YOU PLAY EDH?

Mindslaver

Okay, let's put those feelings aside though and look at the REAL reason we play EDH/commander. If you're at a GP, you're likely a Spike playing in paid tournament pods. In this setting, anything goes as long as you're not playing banned cards. You're likely playing your tuned Fraylise, Llanowar's Fury list filled with horrible ways to tie up the game and kill your opponents. or maybe you're playing your Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain Storm Combo deck, but in your play group that really does require a social contract and certainly isn't something you want to be doing with strangers 70% of the time.

Why do YOU play EDH? I play EDH because it's a great casual format that allows me to play some awesome cards that I can't play in other formats. I play it because I like to get together with people and play fun and friendly games with far less stress than constantly trying to find an "out" to my opponent all the time. Actually, that's my feelings getting all up in your grill again, isn't it.

Okay, lets go all the way back to my introduction article where I cited the commander commandments by Sheldon and the team.

Commander is a CASUAL format, that aims to create games that everyone will love to remember, not the ones you'd like to forget.

There is NOTHING AT ALL wrong about being a Spike, but when you write an article for Spikes in response to an article for non-Spike players, I think it misses the point of Sheldon's post entirely and the thought behind it. The format was created to have a more casual and laid back feeling to it, where people could get together, no matter of skill level, and play against other decks. It was never intended for competitive play and that's why we have a ban list in the first place.

BUT IF IT'S NOT BANNED, ISN'T IT OKAY TO PLAY?

Stasis

Well look, Stasis isn't banned, so I guess that's a fine card to play in commander. Even though it slows the game down, it's not fun for the OTHER players at your table and it assists as a lock piece. The game suddenly goes from energetic and fun with a light fun mood, to a dreary "JUST KILL ME NOW" feeling. Now just remember that this might not be YOUR group, but that's why we talk about "Social Contracts" a lot when we talk about certain cards being played. 

Want to know why Griselbrand is banned in commander? Take a little guess and you'd be right. Griseldaddy is amazingly abuseable and downright rotten when you can ramp into him on turn three or four almost every game or even if he is part of the 99, being able to tutor for him, play him well before turn seven and then draw so many cards that no other player can catch you.

But we aren't talking about banned cards, really. We are talking about an article intended for a casual audience, and an article that is clearly aimed at Spikes.

BUT YOU AS THE PLAYER SHOULD EXPECT TO SEE AND TECH AGAINST THE POWERFUL CARDS, IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT YOU DON'T

Counterspell

You can't counterspell every threat. It's statistically impossible to do so. Just as you can't draw exactly what you need, when you need it unless you can tutor for it, but there are only so many tutors in the game. What I's trying to convey, is that no deck has an answer to every powerful and gross card ever made. Your opponent will likely get that Brago, King Eternal on the board and if they untap with it, it's likely game over.

Can you hear that audible groan? That's the disappointment of the table that knows they just lost the game on turn four.

You may want to win at any cost, but that doesn’t mean you NEED to play your turn one UN-fun deck that consistently wins the game and cry that other players should be playing Force of Will in EVERY deck. Cards that lock away the ability to actually PLAY Magic, while not banned in Commander, ruin the experience for everyone. If you force players to only be able to play one card a turn, you’re that jerk face. Destroying all your opponent’s land over and over might be fun for you, but likely isn't for your table. Oppressive magic isn’t fun, it isn’t innovative and more often than not, is a waste of every player’s time at your table.

This stretches all the way back to WHY we play commander. People all have a different view of what THEY want out of the game and I'm not debating that, but I think its misleading to say it's fine top play some of the more gross and groan inducing cards in a casual setting. And Sheldon's article was very much on the side of a casual setting. I do however want to point out that even Rachel points towards "Social Contracts", but I would hate to hear anyone use her article as an excuse to play with some of the more taboo cards wth a "deal with it" attitude.

Uril, the Miststalker

That's it from me this week, so what do you think? Do you enjoy playing Stasis decks in commander? Sound off down below with your thoughts.

-Chesh