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 Post subject: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 2:14 am 
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Joined: 2013-Nov-04 2:12 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Northamptonshire, UK
Assuming an average deck that relies only on creatures attacking and dealing damage to their opponents to win the game, what should every Commander deck include? And, assuming an average playgroup that doesn't lean heavily on any given strategy (thus requiring you to skew the percentages of answers to them), in what quantities?

At a basic level, I can imagine that the following things are a good idea to have in a deck:

  • Ramp,
  • Artifact destruction,
  • Enchantment destruction,
  • Board wipes, and,
  • A way to push damage through (so, some kind of evasion).

Is there anything I'm missing here? And what kind of quantities should I be looking at taking each of these at?

EDIT: So, I figured I might as well combine all of the responses to this post here as a reference guide for anyone else needing help building a deck.

Basic Deck Skeleton

  • 40 land,
  • 10 win conditions,
  • 10 creature removal (includes wrath, terror, etc.),
  • 10 non-creature removal (includes discard, counters, etc.),
  • 10 value cards (draw, tutor, etc.),
  • 9 theme-centric jank,
  • 6 ramp, and,
  • 4 flex.

Deck Inclusions

  • Ramp,
  • Artifact destruction,
  • Enchantment destruction,
  • Board wipes,
  • A way to push damage through (so, some kind of evasion).
  • Instant speed creature removal,
  • Graveyard hate,
  • Utility lands, and/or,
  • Card advantage, strong synergy, and/or redundancy, in the case you can't include one or more of the above things.

Other Considerations

  • Personality, and,
  • Sleeves. :P

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Last edited by Masked Thespian on 2015-Feb-13 3:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 2:46 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
You are missing "instant-speed creature removal." The most basic formula for an EDH deck is:

40 land
10 win condition
10 creature removal (includes wrath, terror, etc.)
10 non-creature removal (includes discard, counters, etc.)
10 value cards (draw, tutor, etc.)
9 theme-centric jank
6 ramp
4 flex

Note that a lot of the cards even outside the "win condition" category can be creatures with EtB effects or activated abilities.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 3:28 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
GRAVE. YARD. HATE.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 3:35 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Personality. Personality goes a long way.

I'll take those "end of turn flash in Phage off my stolen POK, untap kill you" losses any day of the week from a deck with personality.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 4:12 am 

Joined: 2010-Sep-11 12:19 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
A suite of utility lands that is virtually identical across decks - changing only by color restriction (damn, I can't run Alchemist's Refuge in all my decks, but Winding Canyons is still pretty good.)


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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 7:19 am 

Joined: 2011-Aug-18 3:35 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Card advantage and strong synergy or strong redundancy.

You can essentially get by without anything else. Some decks can't run instant removal for thematic or combo reasons, green has no creature wipes, etc...

Removal, hate, win conditions, etc are all good to include when you can but they are by no means necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 7:26 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Sleeves.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-13 3:14 pm 
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Joined: 2013-Nov-04 2:12 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Northamptonshire, UK
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I've updated the initial post with everyone's suggestions up to this point so hopefully anyone can come along and see it if they need the help.

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MT.


Putrid Pirate Proliferation
Lord of Voltronhorn
Unlife of the Party
Jaya Ballard, Discard Mage
Zedruu and the Minotaurs
Vish Kal's ManSlaughterhouse
Izzet Any Good?

Chorus of Counters


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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-14 12:16 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I'd also like to add that it's best if you can have as many cards overlapping the groups as possible. For example, Beast Within is probably the single best card in green because it functions as artifact, enchantment, and creature removal, all of which at instant speed.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-14 7:59 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Masked Thespian wrote:
What should every Commander deck include?
At a basic level, I can imagine that the following things are a good idea to have in a deck:

  • Ramp,
  • Artifact destruction,
  • Enchantment destruction,
  • Board wipes, and,
  • A way to push damage through (so, some kind of evasion).


Um... A Commander. Preferably one that matters and isn't used "just for the colors."

Semi-kidding aside:

crokaycete wrote:
You are missing "instant-speed creature removal." The most basic formula for an EDH deck is:

40 land
10 win condition
10 creature removal (includes wrath, terror, etc.)
10 non-creature removal (includes discard, counters, etc.)
10 value cards (draw, tutor, etc.)
9 theme-centric jank
6 ramp
4 flex



I'm not sure I agree here. Having nine cards as "theme" seems counter-intuitive to me. It should more likely be a portion of each category that is themed (Example: fit that Broken Visage into your Spirit tribal deck. Sure its not the most efficient, but it fills a need and reinforces the theme. And I hear killing two creatures for one spell is good).

My rough numbers are below, where 50+% of each category should be filled in based on theme first, then rounded out with other cards as needed, preferably cards that go to more than one category:

38-42 Land (depending on number of colors)
6-10 Ramp/color fixing (depending on colors and curve)
3-5 Other Tempo Advantage (besides the ramp)
8-12 Card Advantage
12-18 Removal/Answers (including at least 2-4 ea. Mass removal, creature, enchant, artifact, Planeswalker, graveyard, exile) About half of these should be instant speed cast or activation.
6-10 Commander Centric
6-12 Win Condition

Just another view point to stimulate discussion. Like the above list, creatures fit into each category as well (either ETB, Ability or theme), though realistically I try to keep my tribal decks at 30 creatures and other decks flex that number as needed.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-15 3:03 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
Same thing everyone else needs.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-16 2:39 am 
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Joined: 2013-Nov-04 2:12 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Northamptonshire, UK
Kemev wrote:


The ironic thing is that the uploader of that video has not made it available in my country (Japan)... :cry:

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MT.


Putrid Pirate Proliferation
Lord of Voltronhorn
Unlife of the Party
Jaya Ballard, Discard Mage
Zedruu and the Minotaurs
Vish Kal's ManSlaughterhouse
Izzet Any Good?

Chorus of Counters


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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-20 2:58 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jun-13 11:10 pm
Age: Drake
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules for EDH deckbuilding, but as a starting point, I like to use these EDH metrics:

1- Determine how many lands my deck wants.

In theory, for every 2 direct ramp card, you can remove 1 land, but just how many land does your deck want? here are simple 60 cards to 99 cards deck conversions:

23 = 38
24 = 40
25 = 41
26 = 43

Your deck may want more or less lands depending on it's build. My Karrthus deck aims to reach 7 mana as soon as possible, for it I had to play 43 lands as it statistically gave me the maximum chances to play 7 lands consistently. I also added 7 1-2 cmc ramp cards and 13 3-4 cmc ramp cards. removing 1 land per 2cmc ramp card and 1 land per 4 3-4 cmc ramp card. Now the deck runs in it's final version, with 20 ramp spell altogether, 37 to 38 lands. For other ramp effects, if they are creature base I use a 4 to 1 ratio for removing lands, if they are artifact, I may use a 3 to 1 ratio.

2- Card advantage, the engine that keeps us going.

Every deck needs a form of card advantage. Card draw is a form of card advantage, but not necessary in -every- deck. If you recur the same spell over and over, it is card advantage. If you wipe the board securing a 4 to 1 destruction ratio, it is card advantage. It depends on your deck.

Single draw spells are good, but I like all my decks to have engine to secure long run card advantage. A few examples:

Fetchland + crucible of worlds
Scroll rack+ land tax
Ghostly flicker+ mnemonic wall
Sylvan library + Abundance
Sakura-tribe elder + gift of immortality

and many more, I can't list them all, but you get the idea. I like all my decks to have at least 4 engines in them and dedicate at least 10 to 15 card slot to creating card advantage.

3- Removal, making sure you don't lose.

I like all my deck to have atleast 15 to 20 cards dedicated to removal with the following minimal spread:

2 cards for graveyard hate.
7 cards that can destroy at least an artifact or enchantment.
2 cards to deal with lands.
1 card to deal with planeswalker.

Some of these card can be overlapping, like all is dust, Rakdos charm or beast within.

4- Victory condition, winning the game.

When it comes to victory condition, you have many choices: Combo out, commander damage, combat phase, milling etc.

I like all my decks to have at least 4 -solid- victory conditions. Having 15-20craw wurm in a deck and trying to win through the combat phase does no constitute a very solid victory condition in my book and I tend to count these as -maybe- 1 victory condition.

Acceptable victory conditions are metagame dependent. I never run any infinite combo, so I tend to win with commander damage, or a high impact creature like serra avatar. You can use magister sphinx if he is not frowned upon in your play group, or something like repay in kind.

5- The theme of your deck

The type of ramp, engine, draw, removal or victory condition you choose should always be aligned with the theme of your deck. This creates diversity and prevents you from playing always the same card over and over. All the remaining unused slots in your deck can be used for added flavor. A Leviathan deck would use these slots to add more leviathan. An elf deck would add more elves. A Nahiri deck would add an equipment package, etc.

For flavor, an angel tribal deck could use Iona's judgment as removal instead of the more popular return to dust. All in all, ultimately, you are the deckbuilder.

There are no hard and fast rules for EDH deck building, but this is the checklist I like to go through when I start a new deck, or revise an old one.

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-20 3:58 pm 

Joined: 2015-Jan-14 2:58 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
It's an interesting thought excercise, and one I've never sat down and thoroughly analysed.

1) Theme - for me this is what makes a deck. Theme can come from fluff, but more often for me it comes from some interaction I want to explore. Selvala is massive enchantment based lifegain and card draw into Felidar Sovereign or Test of Endurance. Vorel is +1/+1 shenanigans. Phenax is Defender mill. Ezuri is mana dorks gone wild. It's most often something I think is neat and potentially powerful and want to turn up to eleven.

2) Synergy - When I build I tend to build for a synergistic web (my own term). I always think of a network map of which cards interact (links) and how strongly (closeness). My goal is always to have the most links possible between cards, and also to have the tightest clusters of strong interaction possible. One downside of this strategy is that answers often need to be tacked onto the surface, and that can lead to having fewer of them as cuts get made. However it also leads to decks where your draws are usually useful regardless of the board state. These decks stay interesting because while the overall game plan is similar each time, the specifics stay fresh.

3) Mana - Usually I start at 38 land unless my average CMC is very high or low, or I need to change it for other reasons. Then I modify based on testing. Usually I include few rocks for multicolor, lately just Signets. I tend to use the same duals as I see elsewhere, Gates, Refuges, Shocks, Checks, and Scrys. ABUR and Fetches where they're available - so rarely. Also i've been enjoying the Odyssey Filters lately, and Painlands for nostagia. A Command Tower in multicolor decks, and an Opal Tower where appropriate. The rest gets filled in with basics proportional to colored mana symbols, unless I feel it needs fudging.

4) Removal - As I said, removal is sometimes an afterthought. My Vorel deck suffers most from this, as he has few answers. Usually I'll attempt to get at least some creature, artifact, and enchantment removal. Preferably either mass removal or repeatable. Not been too impressed with spell-based spot removal anytime recently, though some of my decks still use it. I've tried to use it more effectively to cover weak spots recently: Selvala has some enchantment exile for Erebos and the other "Can't gain life" enchantments, while Ezuri has several sources of damage to flyers, which he lacks.

Hope this is helpful and not just a wall of text...

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 Post subject: Re: What does every Commander deck need?
AgePosted: 2015-Feb-20 8:07 pm 

Joined: 2010-Mar-10 1:31 pm
Age: Dragon
i'd think cards would be a great help....but that's just me

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trappedslider wrote:
EDIT: so if i somehow manged to get down to 1 life,played Repay in Kind followed by Decree of Annihilation then it owuld be bad evil juju?

That's not how magic works. You can't equate cards and situations linearly like that!


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