card pool size

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Kinda curious about what people would estimate the size of the edh viable cardpool is.

My wife complains that she can't play edh because she doesn't know enough of the cards, but with 18 edh decks together it isn't possible for there to be more than 1800 unique cards... which doesn't seem like too many.

I told her it isn't terribly hard if you learn the format by class rather than by card. Know the commonly played counters and such.

The current card count (according to a gatherer search for cards of any color or colorless) is 12946 cards. How many of them are commonly played in edh (so excluding bizarre cards like Citadel of Pain which only sees play in my zedruu)?

3DH4LIF3

It's nearly impossible to quantify.  The cards that go into my decks are pretty much dependent on the general, and not something like a "staple list."   Similar to your Citadel of Pain example, if you thumb through my five decks you'll find stuff like Norritt, Shadow Rift, Blinkmoth Urn and other random cards that wouldn't see play in a "typical" EDH deck, if there is such a thing.

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

Considering the amount of utter garbage that has been printed, you could probably rule out a few thousand cards that you will likely never see.  There are probably another 5-6000 that you will rarely see (either fillers til better cards are acquired, or oddball deck ideas that utilize oddball cards).  That leaves bout 3-4000 cards you'll come across with regularity.  Of course, every playgroup, and almost every deck will be different.  And I'll leave it to you to figure out which cards are which.  But seriously, my girlfriend started playing commander almost as soon as she learned magic.   She'll learn during play, and since it a friendly format, no one should have any problems if you point out things to help her. 
That's about what I was thinking. 2-3000 "staples" and about 1-2000 fringe deck dependant.

3DH4LIF3