Minds Aglow – Approaching Commander


Minds Aglow  | Art by Yeong-Hao Han | © Wizards of the Coast

The answer to the question “Why do I play EDH?” is the most important thing you can ask yourself when approaching the format. Being open with others about what you find engaging and fun about Commander will lead to the highest amount of games where both you and your opponents enjoy themselves; in a game that usually has four or more players in it, not everyone can win, but everyone can certainly end the game on a high note.

This week, I hope to get your conversation with other players started and get everyone asking the question: What makes a great game for you?

dark confidant cropped

Dark Confidant | Art by Ron Spears | © Wizards of the Coast

The easiest way to approach setting your expectations for Commander is to establish what makes you enjoy a game. Are you a player that wants to control a giant swath of monstrous creatures every game, somebody that wants to set up a powerful engine of cards to generate value and win conditions, or are you looking to try and win every game that you sit down to play? Commander, as stated by the format’s Rules Committee, is designed to be a social format; and part of being a social format is communicating your expectations and goals with the players across from you at the EDH table.

Most games of Commander are not played in a one-versus-one fashion. When you sit down with a group for two to four other players for a game of EDH, remembering that those players may have different opinions about how they want the game to go is very important. You may be the player who wants to establish a huge, dominant engine of cards in a game and feel like you’ve accomplished the goal you set out for yourself when you decided to shuffle your deck. However, your opponents may be the kinds of players that want to set up huge boards, players that put winning above other interactions and outcomes, or a myriad of other play styles. In a game you might wind up accomplishing exactly what you wanted to do in a game, but at the cost of ostracizing the other people at your table.


Restore Balance | Art by Mark Poole | © Wizards of the Coast

I have found over the half decade I’ve been playing Commander that myself and other players often do not look past themselves and think about their impact on three other people when playing a game. But, we are players of the most social format in Magic–finding it in ourselves to look past eeking out every advantage in a game to contribute to a welcoming environment is part of Commander being a social format. This is why I asked you to think about what you enjoy about playing a game of Commander. EDH does not have to be a zero sum game, especially when more than 75% of the time, an individual player should not be winning the game that they’re playing.

So, the next time that you shuffle up the ninety-nine of your choice, take a minute and think about the other players at the table and ask them “What do you want out of this game?”

Weekly Deck Highlight

Each week I’d like to highlight a community submitted deck in this article series and go over my thoughts on it. This inaugural article, however, I’ll just be posting a decklist for my Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice deck. Let me know if I’m missing a card that should be in the deck or a card that seems out of place and we’ll discuss it in next week’s article.


No One Acts Alone

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

1x Arid Mesa
1x Canopy Vista
1x Command Tower
1x Dryad Arbor
1x Evolving Wilds
6x Forest
1x Gavony Township
1x Ghost Quarter
1x Grove of the Guardian
1x Horizon Canopy
1x Kjeldoran Outpost
1x Krosan Verge
1x Marsh Flats
6x Plains
1x Reliquary Tower
1x Savannah
1x Scattered Groves
1x Stirring Wildwood
1x Sunpetal Grove
1x Temple Garden
1x Temple of the False God
1x Verdant Catacombs
1x Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
1x Windswept Heath
1x Wooded Bastion

1x Chord of Calling
1x Krosan Grip
1x Path to Exile
1x Swords to Plowshares
1x Teferi's Protection

1x Ajani, Valiant Protector
1x Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1x Garruk, Primal Hunter

1x Acidic Slime
1x Angel of Sanctions
1x Arbor Elf
1x Archangel of Thune
1x Avacyn, Angel of Hope
1x Avacyn's Pilgrim
1x Avenger of Zendikar
1x Birds of Paradise
1x Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1x Craterhoof Behemoth
1x Dragonlord Dromoka
1x Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1x Eternal Witness
1x Hero of Bladehold
1x Knight of the Reliquary
1x Lena, Selfless Champion
1x Llanowar Elves
1x Selvala, Explorer Returned
1x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1x Sigarda, Host of Herons
1x Tendershoot Dryad
1x Tolsimir Wolfblood

1x Akroma's Memorial
1x Commander's Sphere
1x Gilded Lotus
1x Lifecrafter's Bestiary
1x Phyrexian Processor
1x Scroll Rack
1x Selesnya Signet
1x Sensei's Divining Top
1x Skullclamp
1x Sol Ring
1x Swiftfoot Boots
1x Thran Dynamo

1x Boundless Realms
1x Council's Judgment
1x Cultivate
1x Farseek
1x Green Sun's Zenith
1x Kodama's Reach
1x Natural Order
1x Praetor's Counsel
1x Seasons Past
1x Shamanic Revelation
1x Skyshroud Claim
1x Wrath of God

1x Aid from the Cowl
1x Angelic Accord
1x Anointed Procession
1x Aura Shards
1x Doubling Season
1x Evolutionary Leap
1x Mirari's Wake
1x Parallel Lives
1x Survival of the Fittest
1x Sylvan Library

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