Login | Register


All times are UTC - 7 hours


It is currently 2019-Sep-18 3:36 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-11 3:49 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2011-Mar-29 8:30 am
Age: Drake
Hi All! Jest Here!

Politics is an inevitable part of multiplayer Commander if you can't learn to play with at least some political finesse then it doesn't matter how good your deck is chances are you probably won't reach your objectives. I love politics in gameplay it often shows the honest from the underhanded or the passive from the aggressive.

Definition of Politics

Politics: The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. (Webster Definition)

Kitchen Table Politics

Politics comes in many forms around your kitchen table...Maybe you've seen a few of these...

Diplomacy - "If you don't attack me, I won't attack you"
Quid Pro Quo - "I let you draw a card if you destroy that Enchantment"
Anarchy – I’ll Play…Grip of Chaos
Threat (Bluffs or Actual):
-Bluff - "Sure go ahead and attack me if you dare... I have no blockers, BUT...I do have one open white mana I might have a...Path to Exile...Cough, Cough!"
-Real - "If you attack me I will use this Nevinyrral's Disk
Retaliation (AKA Bear Poking) - You pinged me for 1 with your Staff of Nin, Krosen Grip your staff and I'll attack you for 20!
Isolationism (AKA Pillowforting) - I have a Moat, Ghostly Prison, Sphere of Safety etc...ain't nobody gonna touch me.

The Political Regimes of Players
Often players will play color schemes that reflect their political affiliation and often represent a player’s political play style. Such as that Red, White and Blue player that plays control and polices the rest table or that mono red player that plays massive land destruction and doesn't want anyone else to play, "In Soviet Russia Magic Plays You". Or the Blue White player that plays passively and thinks they’re Sweden or Switzerland with all their pillowforting!

Different Types of Players and the Politics They Play

In my experience I have run into all types of political players. Here are a few, maybe you have met them.

Snake in the Grass – This person you never see coming until it’s too late! They will build up their mana base and give you the sad eyes when you attack them saying, ”But, I’m not doing anything to anyone?…don’t attack me.” ...And then proceed to combo out with instants and sorceries that finish the game. They won’t play anything and stay under the radar the whole game by looking as non-threatening as possible until the end.

Hulk Smash!!! – This is one of the funniest players at the table and I’m sure you have all met him/her at some point. You will disrupt one of their plays or attack them with the 1/1 guy you laid down last turn dealing them a single point of damage and they won’t let that go for the rest of the game…they will send everything at you in retaliation. There is no negotiating with them…that’s it! YOU are now priority number one for them for the rest of the game! You poked the bear now deal with the consequences.

Balance – This player will above all things always seek to even the playing field by attacking the highest life total to even things out. Often they are players that leave you alone if you leave them alone, but engage in eye-for-an-eye retaliation if provoked.

I am Switzerland - This person doesn't want to get involved in petty politics so they wall themselves up with things that prevent you from doing anything to them and forces you to deal with others. As I mentioned before these are the people that play heavy enchantments like Moat, Ghostly Prison, Sphere of Safety. They usually try to pull out a win by letting everyone else deal with each other first then pop out of their shell to finish the game.

The Puppet Master – This player has leverage over another player and will force them to make plays that benefit them or else suffer consequences. I call this act "puppetstringing" another player because the master pulls the cord and the puppet dances. It’s not the nicest thing to do in a game, but it is something that happens.

The New Guy – There are several different types of new guys, people who are new to the game, people that know how to play, but new to the play group…etc. I mention these two types below.

New Guy to the group that knows how to play – In a well-established playgroup the new guy or gal will usually attack the friends they know… often this happens because they are trying to be polite and don’t want the others at the table to dislike them. I guess in their mind it’s better to attack the friend you know than the foe you don’t.

New to the Game – These players are pretty easily manipulated, but try to be fair and honest about the help you give them, so that it doesn’t always benefit you… they are trying to learn the game and group dynamics…usually they make poor decisions.

The Honest Abe (Nice guy) – When it comes down to the optimal plays of others these individuals will put their own head on the chopping block if they are the clear threat. They will tell it like it is and more times than not they are right. They play the game not for the sake of winning, but to educate others on playing…they transcend the act of winning and play purely for the camaraderie of multi-player Commander.

Those are some examples of political types I've seen around a kitchen table.

What does your political climate look like?

All the Best!

Your Friend,

-Jest


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-11 12:44 pm 

Joined: 2015-Jan-14 2:58 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I have a strong tendency towards Swiss things: watches, knives, cheese, and pillow forts. Of course I tend to be more German and enjoy having two fronts open on other decks.

Also, a forgotten archetype:

Peace through strength - The player that builds a commanding board state, and is unassailable, but waits for the perfect moment to one-shot a player. Really the I am Switzerland is a mirror to this player, achieving the same ends by defense instead of (passive) aggression.

I tend to hover around this area in my more aggressive decks.

_________________
Deepglow Skate
Antis wrote:
I'm seriously suspicious of any card that makes Doubling Season look fair and reasonable.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-12 6:08 pm 

Joined: 2009-May-05 9:45 pm
Age: Dragon
Location: Acworth, GA
This is one of the biggest differences between my home group and most. We play a lot of Commander, and we play a lot of board games. We learned over the years that while "verbal politics" works in board games, it actually detracts from multiplayer commander. There is still political play, but you do it with cards and game actions, not words. We also as a group try to play guided by pure threat assessment, and not by grudges or revenge, but a little of that seeps in here and there.

Would suggest giving it a try, but it takes a lot of maturity and commitment from everyone to make it work. It also takes everyone self policing their decks to the betterment of the group, since failing that is a major cause of the whole thing coming down.

_________________
Well, that was special.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-13 5:02 am 

Joined: 2011-Apr-07 11:38 am
Age: Elder Dragon
At my typical table

The barbarian- basically the barbarian attacks as much as possible. doesn't really hold back for the best opportunity. Its almost like their cards say must attack each turn if possible. Sometimes the barbarian attacks the weakest players knowing victory will be easy, sometimes they attack the strongest player to prove they are stronger.

The assassin- waits for a target to lower their guard and hurts them, never hurting themselves in the process.

The duelist- Usually attacks one specific player in the group. Why? Who knows. The attacks are usually reciprocated meaning their need to be 2 of these players to really work. once one of those players are taken out the duelist tries to become another type of player, but has often used up a majority of their resources and cannot recover in time.

The watcher- just kind of does thier own thing and watches the rest of the table kill each other and picks up the pieces. This player usually only attacks if they get something out of it.

_________________
http://legendarycommander.blogspot.com/

Image


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-13 7:20 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Funnily enough, I think I can actually compare the politics I see in games to the five League of Legends roles:

The support: Kinda a mix between the Snake in the grass, the puppet master, and the balance. Always manages to identify the biggest threat and acts like he/she can't do anything but try to help other players keep that person in check. Almost always plays control, and has a ton of global effects.

The mid: Plays very aggressive. Likes to pressure the opponents into making bad decisions. Usually focuses on the biggest threat and then after that person is taken down a notch starts moving around to other targets. Tends to either absolutely dominate or fall flat.

The top: Like the mid, but in much more of a passive rattlesnake way. Always building and building, and you know that the second you screw up you're going to open the door for him/her to unleash hell upon the table. Almost always runs green.

ADC: While the support calls out the top threats at the table, the ADC is the player who takes them on. They usually start off a little behind, but if they can get their machine running unadulterated into the late game they are invincible. They like to put on pressure and be aggressive like the mid but also are extremely cautious about overextending.

Jungler: these players may as well not exist for the first couple turns. Their whole goal is to beef themselves up and give themselves as many options as possible. If they feel the wind is in their favor, they start to play more like a mid and bully everyone around. If not, they pull out the support card and start using it. And when they're not actively taking on some sort of role, they're hiding, usually trying to scare you more than actually hurt you.

_________________


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-13 9:41 pm 

Joined: 2015-Apr-23 11:27 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
One more that's at our table every week:

El presidente loco: Completely unreliable, and impossible to predict what his next move will be. Can sit quietely for a couple of turns, and then make an all out attack without any provocation. Has no regards for his own defense. Is more of a nuisance than a threat, every one just hopes they're not the target. Loves chaos effects.

I love playing with this guy, it's like a force of nature, sometimes you're just unlucky and a tornado strikes your town :D


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-14 1:24 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2011-Mar-29 8:30 am
Age: Drake
Quote:
We learned over the years that while "verbal politics" works in board games, it actually detracts from multiplayer commander. We also as a group try to play guided by pure threat assessment, and not by grudges or revenge, but a little of that seeps in here and there.


That's pretty impressive if your group can play without verbal politics. I think we can all agree that we try to use our best judgement when it comes to threat assessment, but that doesn't always mean we do.

What about in beginning of the game when most of the table has some board presence except for one guy or girl that's wide open to attack... are they sandbagging it making you think they have nothing or are they really not coming up with any decent plays? Do you attack them or leave them alone? Do you ask yourself, "if you attack them are they going to be upset about it? Will they give me those sad eyes?" Will the say, "why did you attack me?!?! Steve is the real threat!" Do you think they will remember you did that later in the game then when all things are fairly even on the board during their threat assessment maybe they might retaliate against you?

What you're saying is no one has ever gotten verbally upset or emotional at your table because you dealt five damage to them instead of Steve who they felt deserved it more than they did? Because if that has happened it sounds like verbal politics are a very real thing at your table.

Well done if your play group can leave verbal emotion or politics out of playing multiplayer magic and can threat assess accurately, but verbal politics and emotion are very real in my playgroup and they often keep people from making optimal choices. I love all the politics in multiplayer commander games both verbal and non-verbal...it's what keeps the game from being stagnant. I consider the politics to be a primary strategy.

All the best!

Your Friend,

-Jest


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-14 5:03 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Hmmm.... I think the 'Balance' personality could be expanded or there could be some kind of governing personality as well.

Sometimes there's a guy who will go after the largest threat without fear of retaliation, even if alone, to make the game fair. And not really going after the largest threat to prevent them from winning, but to give them only an equal chance of winning.

I only have a couple major experiences with this type but they were pretty extreme to the point i don't think it was general threat assessment "let's team up on this guy because he will win in a few turns if we do nothing". It was more "i have an internal drive to feel responsible for protecting others from this villain".

The most extreme experience i have was a long time ago but it was pretty much also the most dickish thing i can imagine doing (which probably means this person is another type of personality as well). He was playing a pretty decently tuned 5c planeswalker/goodstuff and i was playing a 5c goodstuff. This was a casually designed tournament and the other 3 at our pod were totally unprepared for the kind of stuff we were doing and basically had no hope. He had to concede and leave the tournament for some reason but said he'd stick with it for one more round. Then he gets to his turn and says he's going to quit but first he's going to wipe my board because it's not fair that no one else has a chance to win (this is after playing Gisela and Blightsteel and i think It That Betrays). He attacks me all out, then afterwards casts Supreme Verdict smiling like a dickhead because he knew i could do nothing about it before he got up and left the game. (i had a Venser, Shaper Savant, Prophet of Kruphix and some type of clone and i bounced it twice)

But, in that story, he was not only being what i think is the biggest douche possible in a game of magic is, he was genuinely flustered most of the game that the other decks weren't powerful and us 2 got a lead that forced us to duel while the other 3 dueled each other. It was was memorable for how much it seemed like two games were being played, too.

I didn't play against him, but i witnessed a game a couple months ago where someone played a control deck that was basically removal and pillowfort with no win condition. He kept destroying everyone's powerful things when something got big or there was too much or someone got too far ahead. He was asked about his deck and he said there wasn't a win condition, and i'm pretty sure he was being honest.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-14 6:56 am 

Joined: 2012-Sep-19 2:29 pm
Age: Wyvern
Location: Brazil
In my playgroups we have

The Cold War: Two players develop a huge board state and can't really attack without risking lowering the defenses.

Nero Fever: A player uses a suicidal deck that burns everything including himself (sometimes do death) and when everyone is at everyone's range achieves some sort of stability

Total War: A player rises a Pillowfort while resurrecting everybody's creatures and making everyone attack and block every turn.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-14 7:36 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2011-Mar-29 8:30 am
Age: Drake
The Cold War: Two players develop a huge board state and can't really attack without risking lowering the defenses.

I like your cold war example :D That's very good! Its funny those usually end when someone runs out of resources :D

White Knighting! Totally a strategy! Player prevents another from taking another person out of the game.

King Maker: this is one that we all know...one person has no way to save themselves, so they help another player win.

Now That we've named a few player types how do you usually combat these strategies? I know you can't always plan for everything that could happen, but how do you get people on board to move against someone else or target a card on the board you don't like. If you have game experiences you can remember please feel free to share a time when you convinced someone to see your side?

All the best!

Your Friend,

-Jest


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-14 7:13 pm 

Joined: 2016-Feb-13 2:14 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Orlando, Florida
For myself, I tend to borrow equal parts of Cold War (at least the weapon stockpiling part) and Puppet Master. I tend not to be an unrepentant douche about it, but instead try to nudge the game in a certain direction (the best direction for me), using my board state to force plays I want to see.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Mar-15 11:59 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Jest wrote:
Now That we've named a few player types how do you usually combat these strategies? I know you can't always plan for everything that could happen, but how do you get people on board to move against someone else or target a card on the board you don't like. If you have game experiences you can remember please feel free to share a time when you convinced someone to see your side?


By being Sheldon Cooper. Calmly and rationally explain why your way is the only logical way, and of course a smart player would see that and agree with you.





Or, more seriously, I just call things like I see them. Hey, do you realize if you do X you can expect Y? I once convinced a player to use her Maze of Ith to untap a Blightsteel swinging my way (Since the out-of-control Godo, had already taken out one player and was swinging lethal at both of us, the Maze could only save one and I had the better chance of knocking him down). I ended up killing him due to his own Kazuul triggers.

_________________
V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Apr-25 3:10 am 

Joined: 2016-Apr-25 1:50 am
Age: Hatchling
My group goes as following:

The Arbiter: the guy usually plays UX and all his game plan is preventing others from getting out of control too fast

The Lurking Menace: Plays passively and hurts no one but if you ignore him he will combo out of nowhere.

The Tyrant: A good permanent is a destroyed one, a good player is one without hand, everything is for the Tyrant and the things that aren't just cease to exist, now just let me destroy your deck with this bitter ordeal with a storm count of 40!

The Berserker: Everything attacks, even the llanowar, each turn, nothing else matters as long as his creatures attack and usually beats the players without blockers, don't care for the board state of the others.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Apr-28 12:06 pm 
User avatar

Joined: 2007-Mar-28 12:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Omaha
This is going to sound odd, but the best way I've learned to play politically is to be predictable.

Title me the "Opportunist."

The rest of my playgroup knows me as the guys who gets every last 2 damage through. Low hanging fruit, opportunity attacks, whatever. I'mma hit you for 1,2,4, whatever.

I'll leave myself pretty open while I do. Blocking is for chumps and standard players.

But the alpha strike rarely comes my way. Because I'm just "that guy picking at scabs" for 4 damage a turn. Even if it's a pair of 1/3s, they know I'm going to get whatever damage I can get in. Oracle of Mul Daya? Swinging! Mayael and 5 mana? That's two general! The rest of the table will build to a point where any of them can overwhelm me, but when the inevitable Insurrection gets cast, you have to send 50 damage somewhere- -me with ~32 or three players with 15.

You have to defend yourself against the aforementioned HULK SMASH guy, but one timely Wing Shards (or whatever) stems the tide.

It doesn't work 100% of the time (nothing does), but presenting enough confidence to always swing out (every day is Rock-Chauv!) makes the rest of the table pause.

_________________
Hypercasual and Proud

Current Deck-building Project(s):

Izoni, Thousand Eyed (Elf Tribal-ish)
Building $15-25 "Intro to Commander" Decks for my Local LGS


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Political Strategy in Commander. How do you Play Politics?
AgePosted: 2016-Apr-29 2:16 pm 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
I find in my group (60 cards, we just started Commander) that they are inherently suspicious of me if I sit back and don't "go for it". Usually it's because I don't have anything, but they take it as plotting and get their licks in while they can, just to be sure. :facepalm:

As a rule, though, I'm incredibly honest in Magic. I never bluff, so they tend to take me at face value, and for good reason. However, if I'm about to die, I either kingmake (if I'm cheering for a particular person to pull it out), or level the entire board as much as I can and let them fight over the scorched earth that's left. And if I can't level everything, I do as much damage to my primary attacker as I can to ensure they don't win. But if I'm in the game, I work the hardest I can to stay above the fray and do what's in my best interest, even if it means accepting damage from a second attacker to take care of the bigger threat. Discipline pulls out a lot of games for me.

When I get emotional and broody is when people play to prevent me from winning, and nothing else, instead of playing to win themselves. Like a guy that nukes all of my land with a bunch of single spells in a deck that can't reliably win in less than 10 turns following destruction of said lands. That always pisses me off when they prevent you from playing. I will then take out a different deck like a speed red and take revenge in the following game, consequences be danged, just to make my point.

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: