The EDH Bug Has Bitten Me
I started hearing about other formats of Magic as soon as I got back into the game all those months ago (probably only 3 months, to be exact). Not only was I still trying to get used to dealing with Planeswalkers, but the world of competitive Magic has changed immensely. There’s the new Modern format, as I mentioned before. Standard was still the same, although it’s not called Type 2 anymore. There’s apparently a Block format, and Legacy is gone. As I started reading more on Magic to get acclimated to the new environment, I started noticing topics about Commander and EDH and Elder Dragon Highlander. I eventually pieced it together that EDH and Elder Dragon Highlander were the same thing (EDH, duh!), but it would be awhile longer until I realized Commander was just another term for it.
So what’s this new format? Anyone reading this probably knows about it already (unlike the born-again Noob I am), but I’ll write a quick summary anyway. Commander, or EDH, is a format where you pick one legendary creature as your “Commander,” which can be played from the command zone. Your deck total is 100 cards, including your commander and you can only have one of each card except for basic lands. The cards in your deck must be in the colors of your commander and the format is mostly multiplayer casual. There’s nothing inherently “commanding” about your Commander other than you somewhat building the deck around him/her.
For me, the interesting thing was that we used to play multiplayer all the time when I was younger but it was usually with our normal decks. Thus, I was a bit skeptical about this new format as I felt it unnecessarily complicated something that was meant to be more casual. Also, I felt with Wizards releasing Commander products that it was mostly a cash grab attempt. So for awhile, I generally ignored the EDH scene in Bangkok.
Recently though, I realized I can’t really avoid it. Everyone at my LGS was playing it and even my friends from the competitions I go to had EDH nights. While my favorite thing to do in Magic is still playing standard competitions, I began to think that maybe it’s time to jump on the EDH train. I still had one problem – I didn’t know who to pick for a commander. However, I was beginning to have an idea of what type of deck I wanted to make. I thought it would be awesome to make a squirrel deck because when I left Magic, it was one of the last decks I played. So I started think about cards I need and reading about token-themed decks. I stumbled upon an article about Rhys the Redeemed and I realized he’s the commander I want. The guy is a 1-drop and he can create tokens AND double them! I immediately asked about the card at my LGS but it wasn’t available. Furthermore, I found out that it’s a hard card to find. That, right there, is the drawback of playing Magic. If it’s not Standard related, it’s usually hard to find as cards are shipped out of Thailand.
Anyway, I dropped the idea for a bit and it was only through recent serendipity that the card arrived at my LGS. I immediately bought it and began the process the putting it together. I read many articles about synergistic cards and I also threw in whichever cool white or green cards I had in my binder. That, right there, is already a reason EDH was an enticing format. I could use random cards I had in my binder that were too slow or too costly for Standard and just pop them into my EDH deck.
Eventually, I finished and I tried my EDH deck at my weekly Magic meetup with friends from local competitions. I was immediately hooked. I can see why it’s such a popular format. With EDH, there’s an “anything can happen” vibe. With Standard competitions, there’s obviously elements of skills but with certain decks against certain decks, the process was usually formulaic. With EDH though, you never really know what’s going to happen cause the variety out there is enormous. Furthermore, with 100 cards, the play will be different each time.
So what did I observe from my first week of EDH play? First, my deck is fast…which made me a target quite early. I learned that I have to slowly bring creatures out and refrain from attacking for awhile. Also, people are not a fan of Aura Shards or the fact that I have many mana ramp enchantments. Still, if I can feign innocence enough, they sometimes let me off. Overall, it’s been a great experience and I recommend everyone to get into the EDH format if you haven’t already. It’s a good way to make use of random cards you have lying around and get into hours of casual play with friends.
Now that the EDH bug has bitten me, I just ordered Sliver Overlord off the internet. It’s time I work on a tribal deck…