Another new to EDH thread

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Like many here I'd like to try out commander but I've just recently got back into Magic. Looking for some advice on an easy to play (and hopefully cheap!) deck to get started! I enjoy control and seeing my life total climb while my opponents drops ;)
Welcome back to the game, I returned to the game just for EDH. It is a fun/interesting format. If your loking for cheap like I was when I started EDH try a mono-colored general. I built Omnath, Locus of Mana for my first deck, and I still play it time to time, it was pretty cheap to make, the cost you save on mono is not needing to shell out for a multi color mana base. The downside is your restricted to that color, so if control is for you, you might like to try something like Boss Lady I fund her quite entertaining as a general.

cheers

                                                                                                                                                                                        <----- Loser.

Speaking from personal experience my favorite "control" general is merieke ri berit. She isn't very expensive and it puts you into a 3 color combination that generally makes control decks. I do find that multicolor EDH decks tend to be easier to budget and more difficult to hate out. For example if you're in mono blue a creature like great sable stag might give you fits but in a W/U deck you can easily path to exile or pacifism it.

What you get from each color:
White
- board sweepers. Sure black also has board sweepers but because of the many options I think the white ones are typically a little cheaper day of judgment, planar cleansing etc...
- artifact, and enchantment removal. Typical B/U decks might have troubles with these kinds of permanants
- little creatures, and finishers
- exile creatures path to exile

Black
- spot removal
- reanimation

Blue
- card draw
- counterspells

Some affordable efficient cards that I might consider for an EDH deck

ponder, brainstorm, sleight of hand, gitaxian probe and cards like this - not a whole lot of things to do early and will help to smooth out your draws
keening apparition - in EDH I like my artifact/enchantment removal to be attached to useful spells rather than playing disenchant
oblivion ring - too good to pass up
counterspell - There are some other counterspell options which might be better or worse depending on your metagame but having some of these can be very beneficial and makes your opponent think twice when pointing a spell your way
day of judgment - now that it isn't standard legal it should be somewhat affordable but if not then you could go for the slightly worse options like planar cleansing or martial coup
angel of despair - there are some really nice angels to use as finishers in this type of list. I didn't check the prices on these but there are many options such as twilight shepherd. Some of them will be very affordable.
unburial rites
careful consideration - it's great when combined with counterspells[/c]
mystical teachings
augur of bolas
slave of bolas

These are just some ideas of (mostly) common/uncommon spells which can help to fill an EDH decklist. There is no rhyme or reason but you can easily focus the deck to your will. For example if you want to focus on the take control of your opponent's creatures theme then you could go with mind control, control magic and the variety of control spells. You can also use copy effects like clone. This way you'll be able to keep pace with the opponent no matter what they play. If you want to push reanimation you could do that too with spells like zombify and angel of serenity, elesh norn, grand cenobite and self mill or entomb/looter effects.

TLDR: you pose a challenging question that IMHO only you can answer but hopefully my post has given you some ideas.

Don't be too smart to have fun
Merieke is a fun commander. Puts you into colors for control personal life gain and enemy life loss.

3DH4LIF3

Mortician: you nailed it, thanks for all the info. I like Merieke but isn't her ability a bit limited? All she does is let me snag a creature right? It seems like a huge undertaking picking 100 different cards all firing with a single deck theme and being 3 different colors!
So I just went into my (rather limited) card collection and started snatching all the controller related stuff for consideration. What are some creatures with abilities that work well with a deck like this? There are so many cards to choose from...
Mortician: you nailed it, thanks for all the info. I like Merieke but isn't her ability a bit limited? All she does is let me snag a creature right? It seems like a huge undertaking picking 100 different cards all firing with a single deck theme and being 3 different colors!



Obviously not the same guy, but Merieke is better than one gives her credit for.  Admittedly, yes; she doesn't untap ever(normally), but there are PLENTY of cheap ways to make her untap.  Two of my favorites: Liquimetal Coating and Voltaic Key, and Unbender Tine, neither of which will cost you more than a couple of bucks.  And if it helps, think of her as more spot removal...you see a dangerous creature come onto the battlefield, you snag it.  Best part is, if someone takes it back, you can untap her and STILL kill it.

Also, don't be too scared about dual-land prices...the first ones(Badlands, Underground Sea, etc.) cost a mint, the Innistrad enemy duals and the Ravnican shocklands are still pricey, sure...but core lands(Rootbound Crag, Drowned Catacomb, etc) and the Zendikar refuges(Jwar Isle Refuge, Sejiri Refuge, etc) and man-lands(Celestial Colonnade, Creeping Tar Pit, etc) are very reasonably priced...not to mention the Guildgates from RTR.

Think about what color(s) you like to play, and pick a general in those colors that you think sounds neat.  I'm pretty sure that's how at least half of us built our first EDH decks, anyway.  Of course, it helps if you have a general in complimentary colors(i.e., B/R/G, or as suggested, B/U/W) so you can use refuges and core lands without issues.
Mortician: you nailed it, thanks for all the info. I like Merieke but isn't her ability a bit limited? All she does is let me snag a creature right? It seems like a huge undertaking picking 100 different cards all firing with a single deck theme and being 3 different colors!

Merieke is a house. Feed her any variety of "untap this" options and she can steal the field.

On a different note, I built a deck around Skullbriar, the Walking Grave that ran to top 8 in my first EDH tournament i've played (Last saturday).  It really doesn't cost a ton to get it going but you can certainly flesh it out over time if you like a deck that can grow.  If you have Skully and a little acceleration; I recommend Lotus Petal, Chrome mox (if you can afford it), and Elvish Spirit Guide. you can basically round out the deck with cards that place counters, cards that move counters, and removal. Take your pick. Simple, deadly, cheap.
Mortician: you nailed it, thanks for all the info. I like Merieke but isn't her ability a bit limited? All she does is let me snag a creature right? It seems like a huge undertaking picking 100 different cards all firing with a single deck theme and being 3 different colors!

Merieke is a house. Feed her any variety of "untap this" options and she can steal the field.

On a different note, I built a deck around Skullbriar, the Walking Grave that ran to top 8 in my first EDH tournament i've played (Last saturday).  It really doesn't cost a ton to get it going but you can certainly flesh it out over time if you like a deck that can grow.  If you have Skully and a little acceleration; I recommend Lotus Petal, Chrome mox (if you can afford it), and Elvish Spirit Guide. you can basically round out the deck with cards that place counters, cards that move counters, and removal. Take your pick. Simple, deadly, cheap.


Ok, I'm using Gatherer and typing in text such as "untap target creature/permanent" I think I'll type stuff like "you gain life" or "target opponent loses life" or some such thing. Its just really hard picking cards when I haven't played in over 10 years!
Thanks again for all the info guys!
minamo, school at water's edge is perfect for untapping merieke. Esentially she becomes take control of target creature and destroy it when you please and take control of another target creature.

As others have started to mention the most difficult part about this list is the mana base (specifically the cost of a good mana base). I didn't go out and buy all of the money rares but rather I filled my deck out with commons and uncommons that would help fix any mana issues. some options are better than others but every little bit helps.

One thing to keep in mind is that pure life gain cards are typically bad (although sometimes decent in multiplayer like congregate). It's usually best to attach lifegain to a creature like soul warden or another powerful effect like sphinx's revelation. Usually I would say avoid pure lifegain spells but some cards have lifegain attached which are good on their own such as azorius charm. You have 3 modes and so even if lifegain isn't a good option during that match you can still use the card to great effect.

Another thing to consider if you're playing a lot of control magic types of effects is something that sacrifices your creatures to good effect. For example you cast control magic on their krosan cloudscraper but they cast naturalize next turn it would be really nice in that situation to have something to do that would benefit you and hurt them. Anything that allows you to sac a creature for a benefit would be nice in that situation.

In answer to your question about what creatures would work well in a deck like this I mentioned nantuko husk types, and clone types, however, it will mostly depend on your collection. After you've found some synergy then you fill it in with the most efficient spells. In otherwords have a theme but don't be a slave to the theme (don't feel like every card inclusion needs to be on theme).
Don't be too smart to have fun
minamo, school at water's edge is perfect for untapping merieke. Esentially she becomes take control of target creature and destroy it when you please and take control of another target creature.

As others have started to mention the most difficult part about this list is the mana base (specifically the cost of a good mana base). I didn't go out and buy all of the money rares but rather I filled my deck out with commons and uncommons that would help fix any mana issues. some options are better than others but every little bit helps.

One thing to keep in mind is that pure life gain cards are typically bad (although sometimes decent in multiplayer like congregate). It's usually best to attach lifegain to a creature like soul warden or another powerful effect like sphinx's revelation. Usually I would say avoid pure lifegain spells but some cards have lifegain attached which are good on their own such as azorius charm. You have 3 modes and so even if lifegain isn't a good option during that match you can still use the card to great effect.

Another thing to consider if you're playing a lot of control magic types of effects is something that sacrifices your creatures to good effect. For example you cast control magic on their krosan cloudscraper but they cast naturalize next turn it would be really nice in that situation to have something to do that would benefit you and hurt them. Anything that allows you to sac a creature for a benefit would be nice in that situation.

In answer to your question about what creatures would work well in a deck like this I mentioned nantuko husk types, and clone types, however, it will mostly depend on your collection. After you've found some synergy then you fill it in with the most efficient spells. In otherwords have a theme but don't be a slave to the theme (don't feel like every card inclusion needs to be on theme).



I was planning on having about 10 ways to untap my Commander, is this a bad idea? I was going to mix it up between creatures with the untap ability and spells, is this a terrible idea? Should I just put minamo, school at water's edge Liquimetal Coating paired with Voltaic Key and hope I pull them from that monster 100 card deck?

In regards to the mana issue: I was just going to mix in Islands, Plains and Swamps (though I'm starting to have problems figuring where to fit and black cards into all of this!)

My other problem is I don't have much of a collection of cards at this point, I have one Fat Pack box and a few decks made up, thats it!
It's nice to have a multitude of ways to untap the general but when I advise you not to be a slave to your theme that means don't go through a bunch of hoops to make it happen. minamo, school at water's edge is a perfect example of low opportunity cost (the only drawback being it's a legendary non-basic land). I mean you're going to be playing islands anyway why not remove one island and play this card instead? liquidmetal coating + voltaic key is a combo that I would only use if I was seriously thinking about having an artifact theme to the decklist already. So what else is out there, chaz mentioned unbender tine but what I really like to do in EDH decks is to have cards that fill multiple roles. To that end I would try a creature like rimewind taskmage or fatestitcher are nice options because they can either keep your opponent's best creature tapped or tap one of their lands down to delay them playing their general or something. Your mana base would suffer too much to include rimewind taskmage but fatestitcher is a nice option that can even come back from the graveyard to untap something.

Basically what I'm saying is that its fine to search for things which will synergize with the general but don't worry too much about having spells like dream's grip which probably isn't that great on it's own (at least not in EDH, I know it was played some in standard back in the day).

As far as your mana base goes you want to have the option of casting Merieke on turn 3. You don't always want to cast her turn 3 but having the option is really nice. That means within your first 10 cards you want to have access to . If you've got enough dual lands or tri lands like arcane sanctum then it should be no problem, however, if you're relying on basic lands the mana base will be a constant struggle. In addition you can only use one of each non-basic so you can't just stuff 4x arcane sanctum and call it a day. This leaves you with options like dreamscape artist or expedition map. There are plenty of inexpensive options evolving wilds, terramorphic expanse, command tower, arcane sanctum but it will probably require that you commit at least a few dollars towards making this happen.

One thing that helps a lot is that you're playing blue. In blue you have cards like ponder, brainstorm, careful consideration, counsel of the soratami and other draw spells which can help draw you into the lands that you need. Therefore, what I might do with the mana base is go something like

2 swamp
20 island
9 plains
1 evolving wilds
1 terramorphic expanse
1 arcane sanctum
1 command tower
1 vivid creek
1 transguild promenade
1 rupture spire
1 orzhov basilica
1 minamo, school at water's edge

Obviously this mana base could be improved on quite a bit with more and/or better dual lands options but you have 29 lands which produce blue mana which gives you a really good chance of having at least blue mana availible in your opening hand. From there you've got ponder, dreamscape artist, thought scour and other cards which will help get you the other colors of mana you need.

For your first EDH deck if you're collection is small and you're short on playables I would suggest commiting at least $10 (in addition to the mana base above) so you can go and pick out the role players you need for your decklist. Understand that sometimes you'll just have to take the budget option, For example one one website I was looking through control magic is a $2 card but mind control is a quarter. Clearly control magic is the superior option but for a first EDH deck I feel like mind control is a really good card.


Don't be too smart to have fun
I run a Mereike deck myself, and some of the things I use to untap her are:
Unbender Tine
Puppet Strings
Freed from the Real
Pemmin's Aura
Norritt
Thousand-Year Elixir
Minamo, School at Water's Edge

Consequently, you can use these to abuse other creatures like Arcanis the Omnipotent, Quicksilver Elemental and Beguiler of Wills.  Side note, Merieke takes control of indestructible creatures permanently, as untapping her is just a destroy effect.

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

Side note, Merieke takes control of indestructible creatures permanently, as untapping her is just a destroy effect.




Awesome! I didn't ever have that situation come up (at least not that I can remember) but that is a sweet interaction and good to know.
Don't be too smart to have fun
I'm easily finding tons of blue/white control stuff for this deck but not so much black. Maybe I should remove black all together?
I'm easily finding tons of blue/white control stuff for this deck but not so much black. Maybe I should remove black all together?



You can do that. It isn't required that you play any black spells. You could use the same general or just change to a different general (which would make the mana base easier to manage).

U/W generals which I think would fit a control decklist very well

grand arbiter augustin IV - a popular option for obvious reasons
hanna, ship's navigator - works well with mind control and oblivion ring
or isperia, supreme judge

There are some other options but if you go straight up I think one of these three would be the best option.

The black cards I used in my list (that I can remember) were
shriekmaw - a terror sometimes but also can pose a problem for the opponents towards the end of the game. This and mulldrifter are about the best EDH cards EVER!
damnation - obviously you could use wrath of god, day of judgment or any number of white options
bloodthrone vampire - I mentioned nantuko husk but this is a better option many times viscera seer is another option. Basically the nice part about these creatures is the ability to sacrifice creatures you steal from your opponent.
phyrexian totem - attacking with a 5/5 after you just cast wrath of god is super good in addition to fixing your mana. Which actually brings me to another point that I didn't mention last post about the mana base. Cards like obelisk of esper can really help to get control of any mana issues that you might have. I used paradise plume too. While sub optimal these budget cards can really help an EDH deck function at a high level even though the power level might not be as powerful as the opponent's decks.

In addition to those cards which I played there are some other good options

rise from the grave - fits the theme of stealing your opponent's best creatures (in this case from the graveyard)
vampiric tutor - I'd have played it if I had it

You have a lot of options, go 2 color, artifact mana fixing (chromatic lantern is a nice card for that from RtR), or dual lands. Whatever you choose to do there are good options out there and even good budget options. Good luck and have fun


Don't be too smart to have fun
If you like gaining life and watching opponents lose life, you should check out corrupt. Of course, you'll need to get a bunch of swamps to do that...oh, wait, urborg, tomb of yawgmoth exists. It's a bit on the expensive side, but it's so worth your money. Got an additional 8 after that? Pair it up with a cabal coffers for copious, retarded amounts of mana....now if only you had another card that loved copious amounts of mana...exsanguinate
Dutch - Here are some thought and idea's for you from when I got back into Magic last year and went straight to the EDH/Commander format...

1. Look for card that do additional things when played ( Annihilate over something like Dark Banishing ) taking into account CMC
2. Enter and exit the battlefield effects are big. ( Sun Titan
3. Adding to enter the battlefield, look for blinking effects. Venser, the Sojourner
4. Basic synergy of cards in your decks like Nath of the Gilt-Leaf and Sadistic Hypnotist for example
5. Find a play group and see how others make, play, and fine tune their decks..  That has been priceless for me.
6. Keep asking questions on the forums, they are a great source for knowledge.

Good Luck 

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!

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