Are you looking for a different way to play Magic the Gathering? Have your fill of Standard, Modern, or limited formats and want to try something new, or better yet something more casual? Give Magic the Gathering’s Commander format a try.
Commander, also known as Elder Dragon Highlander (or EDH) is a fun constructed Magic the Gathering format that tends to favor multiplayer games with a bit more chaos to them. It’s a fun format with a very small banned list, a low cost of entry and when played casually it can bring hours of entertainment and more than a few laughs. In short, it’s the closest you’ll get to a regulated constructed format that feels like kitchen table magic.
Did I mention it’s fun?
So what do you need to play Commander?
1 Legendary Creature to act as your commander card.
99 Other cards that all share a color identity (mana symbols on the card) with the commander.
The Scorpion God fits the bill as a commander. He’s Black and Green (mana symbols on his casting cost *AND* on the card) so you could have black, green or colorless cards in your deck only. (If it has a different color mana in an ability, you cannot use it!)
General Tazri has a FIVE COLOUR identity because of the mana symbols on his ability. As a commander you can use all five colors in your deck (and colorless cards). You cannot put Tazri in a deck with a white commander though because his ability uses five colors.
In those 99 other cards, each non-basic land must be UNIQUE. You can only have ONE Grizzly Bear or one Evolving Wilds.
You start the game a little differently too. You have 40 life. That commander card I mentioned? If you take 21 damage from any one commander card over the course of the game, you lose (no matter how much life you have left). Also our commander does not start shuffled into your deck but instead is set aside in your command zone (think of it as a seperate area almost like exile). You can cast your commander form the command zone at any time. Any time your commander would leave play (go to the graveyard, exile, your hand or get shuffled into your library) you can put it back in the command zone instead and recast it for two mana more for each time you cast it already. (If it was already cast twice before, you need to pay 4 extra mana)
This means your commander is always accessible and you’ll probably want a deck with lots of synergies with your commander card. If you are playing Tazri above, you’ll want lots of Ally creatures. If you are using The Scorpion God, you’ll want to try to mess around with -1/-1 counters and have cards that give out -1/-1 counters.
Because of the 100 card deck size and the fact you can have only one of each card the odds of you drawing a specific card is going to decrease. This makes each game very different. Because the game is also best played multiplayer, it also means games take longer. Attacking becomes more risky as you are leaving yourself potentially open to more than one player. This means you have time to wait, plan, and build up mana for BIG spells.
This isn’t a good card in most formats, but it would be perfectly at home in Commander.
Commander is a format known for allowing you to use spells that you would never usually consider in another format. The slower pace of the game means you can save up mana for explosive plays. Big powerful EDH cards are sometimes cards no other format needs or uses which brings up another fun aspect of the format. Decks don’t have to be expensive. Fast, powerful and expensive cards used in Standard and Modern might not even be good for a Commander deck while some great Commander rares and mythics can be picked up for a dollar.
Because big crazy spells are being played by multiple people, it’s often the case that Commander games have huge swings, blow-outs or deteriorate into chaos. That’s all part of the fun.
If you’re interested, give it a try! Check out our Commander League every Wednesday evening at 6pm! You can pick up a pre-constructed Commander deck or make one yourself and have a good time!