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An Introduction to Commander
Paul's Perspective
06.15.11

With the release of the new Commander product less than a week away I am as excited as a kid on Christmas. Commander is by far one of my favorite formats that is when I get to play it, I have noticed in my playgroups that people either lack the necessary cards to build a powerful commander deck or just can’t find the time to build a 100 card monstrosity and are intimidated by the prospect. With the release of these commander decks I hope to rectify this situation by simply handing out the decks and shuffling up and playing. My area of passion is multiplayer be it Commander(Elder Dragon Highlander) free for all, Two-Headed Giant or interesting new variants such as Archenemy and Planechase. Multiplayer for me offers a chance to try out wacky deck ideas and to socialize and have fun with my friends. Today I decided to focus on a primer for Commander to hopefully draw players into the world of 100 card decks and legendary creatures. First of all the basics.

 

 

 

Commander is a singleton format, meaning you cannot have more than a single copy of a given card other than basic lands in your deck. There is also a banned list which I have provided a link to below. Deck construction is 100 cards precisely including your commander. A commander is the most important part of your deck construction; your Commander’s color identity shapes the colors your deck is allowed to use. Your general or Commanders color identity is identified by the colors included within its mana cost as well as the colors present in its text box. Players start at a reasonable 40 life and the final difference between other multiplayer variants is the nature of your general. A player can cast their general at anytime they could cast the creature spell; a commander is cast from the command zone and costs an additional two generic mana to cast for each time it was previously cast from the command zone. If your commander would be into the graveyard or exile from anywhere you may instead put it in the command zone, finally a player dealt 21 damage by a single general loses the game. Now that we have established the basic rules of the format I will give new players some tips that will hopefully insure players have a blast playing what is in my honest opinion the most fun format in magic.

 

1. Build around your general

Utilizing your generally purely for the color combination is boring and lets be honest not fun. Choosing a wacky or powerful general that encourages a build around me aspect of deck design I feel is one of the most fun things you can do. Generals like Horde of Notions and Glissa the Traitor encourage players to build their deck around synergy between the general and other cards in the deck. Be aware this is just my opinion if you want a “good stuff” deck I am not saying just straight up powerful non synergy related are bad, just be aware there is different styles of play.

 

 

 

2. Utilize Mana fixing

Commander is filled with cards that will assist you in searching out lands and fixing your colors. Basic budget options for land include the Ravnica bounce lands and cards like Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds. Green also has a plethora of mana fixing and ramping cards like Cultivate and Kodamas Reach are perfect cards for a lot of Commander decks. Finally artifact cards such as the Ravnica set signets and cards like Darksteel Ingot provide mana fixing for multicolored decks.

 

 

 

3. Use bizarre cards

Commander is the perfect place to test out new cards that may not have done well in traditional multiplayer cards such as Storm Herd. Commander is the opportunity to test out card interactions and utilize cards that may not be up to snuff in other formats as well as providing the opportunity to unleash your creative deck building juices to flow in trying out cards.

 

   

 

4. Have Fun!

Commander while occasionally played one on one is primarily a multiplayer format that is for social interaction and fun. Build crazy decks and enjoy the unpredictable nature of the format and the explosive plays.

 

I hope you enjoyed my brief exploration into the format of Commander; I am a huge fan of Commander and multiplayer formats in general so this may be a subject I write more about.

Comments and opinions on the article and topics discussed therein as well as ideas for columns can be sent to PlatinumFUBU5@hotmail.com.

 

Also I now have a Youtube channel where I will be uploading various Magic Online videos as well as other items please check it out the account is ThePaulsPerspective and can be located at http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePaulsPerspective?feature=mhee

 

I also am now a registered member of the forums and am eager to discuss your ideas for my columns and Magic in general my handle is PaulsPerspective feel free to shoot me a message on the forum I am looking forward to discussions with fellow players.

 

Official rules can be found and additional information such as the Ban list can be found at

http://mtgcommander.net/rules.php

 

   

 

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