A response toHow to make your commander deck work 'better

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This was brought up in a diffrent thread and I didnt want to thread jack it so I answered it in a diffrent thread. 


This post is a response to a post from Jan 13, 2013 -- 8:47AM, Disturbed185 wrote:


Can your next thread please be about when to switch the core strategy? I find that to be a bigger problem.


I know I have fallen victim to this conundrum many times when building and EDH deck.  I look at a general and see so much that I could do with that card, and then I start deck building and I end up with a big card pool and narrow it down to a deck.  This can lead to a deck that lacks focus and win-conditions.  I think a lot of problems with deck building come from not knowing what you are going to do with a deck.  So here is a list the main deck types that I see out there and what they generally include.  To help determine what type of “core strategy” you are trying to play and how to best build to them.  All of these strategies will benefit from the previously mentioned ramp- draw strategy



  1.  Combo:  This is fairly straight forward. Assemble my combo and I will win, and I want to assemble my combo faster then my opponent.  Using lots of tutoring effects and board disruption lead to a game state that is advantageous to the combo player.  OF course combo weakness is disruption and removal so having a back up plan is important, especially in a singleton format. 

  2. Control:  Controlling the board state is the name of the game here, keeping what you have on the board and taking away what your opponents have.  This can be done by permission IE counters, resource denial, IE discard, land destruction, or removal the best example I have ever seen of this is a Braids deck before she got the ban hammer. 

  3. Agro:  These decks are simple and effective, play big creatures and smash a lot of face with them.  They are what classic EDH table top magic was meant to be. 

  4. Tempo:  These are decks that pair cards together that have a lot of synergy and work well together.   Better examples of these decks are usually seen in type 2 play but are possible to run in EDH. 

  5. Voltron:  Again as the name implies it’s a deck that roles along and kind of plays defense and doesn’t look all that threatening until in assembles in a flashing light display that should have given us all a seizer when we all kids and wins that way.  See ZUR.  (you know who you are) 

  6. Reanimate.  I kill your stuff, I kill my stuff, my things come back and yours stay dead.  These decks find ways to get stuff into their yard and get it back cheap, it’s a principal that’s as old as magic, bin expensive creature and get it in to play cheap. Except back in the day we were animating a  Mahamoti Djinn LOL. 

  7. Mill:  Also a concept as old as magic.  I can run you out of cards I win the game.  Now anyone who has tried building a group mill deck knows it is not that easy to do but it can be done and is a fun deck to play.

  8. Tribal:  Sliver players unite.  Playing a lot of creatures of the same type that benefit each other and have a nice theme to the deck.  Again a great table top stable of magic.

  9. Good stuff decks:  As the name implies good stuff decks consist of the best and most powerful cards and usually win by out gunning other decks.  They have no real theme they just win by playing awesome cards. 

  10. Other:  There are those people out there on that build decks that do not fall into these categories and these are the decks that are weird for weird sake.  You might have someone like this in your play group who is always showing up with some off the wall idea or creation that only works one in 20 times. 

  11. Poison decks (FIXD)


Now I know the examples that I have given above are very simplistic and rudimentary strategy list of deck building ideas.  I also may have left a few of them out but they were the ones I could think of off the top of my head. 


Now the reason I bring these up is to help focus a deck.  I find that if I try to build in more then three of these ideas into a deck things will always end up going to Hell.  So for EDH I think that 2-3 is a perfect number when building a fun multiplayer deck.  Now as far as competitive 1 v 1 decks the more focused you are on one of these strategies the better your deck will perform.  I find that building a deck that is so focused on one aspect of the game is bad in group because your deck is not prepared to deal with the chaotic nature of group magic and you end up not having fun.  (It’s like playing a great 1 v 1 deck in a group game)  Sure you might kill one person but the table turns on you and you die quickly.  So to answer the question, find your general find two things you want to do with that general and build accordingly.  I see a lot of decks on here that people are asking for help with that have no idea what they are trying to do with the deck.  So I think it is not a matter of “switching the core strategy but focusing on one or two you already have in the deck and removing the cards that are not working toward that cause.


I hope this was moderately helpful in answering your question and helping people on this board build better decks, as usual discussion and ridicule are always welcome.


 


MOX

A friend of mine whom I consider a good player, critisized my building one day, and although his critisims were right, he said something I found interesting. He called me rogue, meaning it in a good and bad way...and i liked it.

I tend to fall more to the #10 category, yet, i do try to find some synergy between the cards in a deck (and I'm getting better since I'm paying more attention now, I'm lasting longer into games, and playing slower being more patient, which is a huge issue when I play, getting bored of nothing happening) but I usually inevitably fall into the trap of "using cards that I like, just because", or using things that aren't played or that just don't fit, and it's very easy to get distracted, but it's still fun experimenting with cards nonetheless (which is why i love EDH now, using all those large cost cards we'd normally never play). I like to win, I think we all do, but in the end, if the game was fun, that's all i care about, the "w" is just a bonus.

Although, I don't think it's unusual for any deck to go through a few changes before settling into something, most people aren't professional deck builders and need the trial & error. For example, I have a mono blue deck that started out with Kira as the commander. It was control based, but it just had no real focus apart from control magic and some countering, there was no real win. Then I changed it to Ertai, wizard adept. The deck was similar, I added some more wizards to it, but it still lacked a win. Now though, I think I have found a sweet spot. It still is wizard themed. Kira, and Ertai are still in it, but  is the commander, and  the hopeful win is to play knowledge pool and have people just quit. It's a dirty combo, and I'm not a combo player, but it works. The hope is to have the pool in hand, flash the teferi into play at the end of the players turn before me, then play the pool on my turn with few worries about anything else., then explain the combo and why they can't play anything, and hope they just conceed the game to me.
 
The other big part of this game beleive it or not, is math. decks revolve around ratios, and bell curves. I've seen people at pre-releases lay cards out by CMC and basically use ratios of lands and those and adjust accordingly. It's like they found a mathematical formula that tells them "in a 40 card deck play x lands of this, so many cards with 1 CMC, 2 cmc, etc". So, regardless of how synergystic a deck may be, it all boils down to the mathematical rations between cmc, and lands in the deck. regardless of how killer the deck is, if the mana base is off, it will have issues (and this is the issue I always have)...the old Sligh decks were heavily based on this and the deck was built so that on turn 1, a player would drop a land and a 1 mana creature, turn 2, a land, and a 2 mana creature, and so on.

Oh, Mox, you forgot POISON DECKS!!!!!! lol 
A friend of mine whom I consider a good player, critisized my building one day, and although his critisims were right, he said something I found interesting. He called me rogue, meaning it in a good and bad way...and i liked it.

I tend to fall more to the #10 category, yet, i do try to find some synergy between the cards in a deck (and I'm getting better since I'm paying more attention now, I'm lasting longer into games, and playing slower being more patient, which is a huge issue when I play, getting bored of nothing happening) but I usually inevitably fall into the trap of "using cards that I like, just because", or using things that aren't played or that just don't fit, and it's very easy to get distracted, but it's still fun experimenting with cards nonetheless (which is why i love EDH now, using all those large cost cards we'd normally never play). I like to win, I think we all do, but in the end, if the game was fun, that's all i care about, the "w" is just a bonus.

Although, I don't think it's unusual for any deck to go through a few changes before settling into something, most people aren't professional deck builders and need the trial & error. For example, I have a mono blue deck that started out with Kira as the commander. It was control based, but it just had no real focus apart from control magic and some countering, there was no real win. Then I changed it to Ertai, wizard adept. The deck was similar, I added some more wizards to it, but it still lacked a win. Now though, I think I have found a sweet spot. It still is wizard themed. Kira, and Ertai are still in it, but  is the commander, and  the hopeful win is to play knowledge pool and have people just quit. It's a dirty combo, and I'm not a combo player, but it works. The hope is to have the pool in hand, flash the teferi into play at the end of the players turn before me, then play the pool on my turn with few worries about anything else., then explain the combo and why they can't play anything, and hope they just conceed the game to me.
 
The other big part of this game beleive it or not, is math. decks revolve around ratios, and bell curves. I've seen people at pre-releases lay cards out by CMC and basically use ratios of lands and those and adjust accordingly. It's like they found a mathematical formula that tells them "in a 40 card deck play x lands of this, so many cards with 1 CMC, 2 cmc, etc". So, regardless of how synergystic a deck may be, it all boils down to the mathematical rations between cmc, and lands in the deck. regardless of how killer the deck is, if the mana base is off, it will have issues (and this is the issue I always have)...the old Sligh decks were heavily based on this and the deck was built so that on turn 1, a player would drop a land and a 1 mana creature, turn 2, a land, and a 2 mana creature, and so on.

Oh, Mox, you forgot POISON DECKS!!!!!! lol 



I do agree that there is a formula for winning building.  So for example if I am playing a reanimator Im going to have 10-12 reanimate spells 8-12 targets 5-8  dump into yard, 10 ramp, 10 draw, and use the few remaing slots for utility.  Mana base is SO critical, of course, and I remember those sly decks.  But say I had a split focous going on and Im like ohh I want to play reanimat, mill, controol, agro.  The focous of the deck will be all over the palce and lead to a very frusterating game of magic.  And yes I did forget poison decks.  I have seen a few pretty nasty infect EDH decks but I would classify them as more Rouge builders.  My buddy is also a rouge deck builder and probley the best deck builder I know so that 10% wasnt saying they were bad But that is about the percentage I see those type of players.  Somtimes my buddy takes it to far and refuses to play cards simply because they are good.  I feel that takes things too far but I to also enjoy some of the expermenting aspect of this format.  I play a Progen deck that runs 25 or so legends and there are 5 rotating spots in the deck that I play around with putting new legends in about once a month.  So its always a little diffrent but still plays the same.  But that is a 5 color good stuff- reanimator.  The fact that it wants to pound face dosent make it an agro deck.  And the fact that it runs a silly combo as a win condition (somtimes) dosent make it a combo deck.  They are just cards that happen to play well with each other.  And nobody sees it coming.  It is funny

My next deck will involve

levelerlaboratory maniac
My next deck will involve

levelerlaboratory maniac



I like the way you think.  I use labrotory maniac in a Damia, Sage of Stone that I infinte Mill loop myself, noone ever sees it coming. Never thought of using leveler though good on you. 
My next deck will involve

levelerlaboratory maniac



I like the way you think.  I use labrotory maniac in a Damia, Sage of Stone that I infinte Mill loop myself, noone ever sees it coming. Never thought of using leveler though good on you. 



i have 5 maniacs sitting in my binder, figured a new alternate win condition could be interesting, especially one that commits suicide. Not sure if I'd make this edh, or delve back into the 60 card game.  
I can say from experience, the first time or two you win with Maniac, it's cool for everyone, but after that it starts getting stale and people get annoyed by it.  I'm guessing that every alternate wincon is like this, but I've only seen it for myself with this one.
I had a build of Damia, Sage of Stone that would pretty consistantley win by
Tormod's Crypt and Donate ing an  Immortal Coil It was fun once or twice but in the end very anti climatic.  Especially if your in the middle of an epic game and your like ohh I winz lulz.  one guy I did it too looked almost hurt when I pulled it off on him.  So I revamped the deck into a wonkey infintie mill looper that doesnt go off very often but when it does it makes people laugh cause the combo is pretty cluncky.  People are more inclined to be killed by a fancy parllor trick then, by a simple donation