To give you a little bit of a background, I have been playing Magic the Gathering since 2000 but I really didn’t get into it until about 2003 when I actually started buying and building my own decks instead of just borrowing decks. Well, I love playing EDH/Commander and I will tell you why I love it compared to the other formats. The biggest reason is options. Lots and lots of options. About 11,000+ cards worth of options.
There are over 11,000 cards in the MTG library to chose from in order to make a deck and even though there is a short ban list, it only accounts for less than 1% of the MTG library. Since you can only have 1 copy of each card that means you have to dig deep and research for other options. You need a counterspell? Well, you better start searching for that spell crumble, that Hinder, that Voidslime, that Counterbore, etc. Need Artifact destruction? Well, there is krosan grip, Naturalize, Acidic slime, Stomphowler, etc. Need ramp? There’s rampant growth, skyshroud claim, etc. Need to tutor? Diabolic tutor, Demonic tutor, fierce empathy, etc. The best thing is that cards that were once seen as useless or unplayable due to their high casting cost or because the card effects weren’t “runnable ” can be used in this format. Also cards that were too old to be played in Standard or Modern have a home in EDH. Since EDH is a slower format, those once “unusable cards” now have a place and a purpose.
I love playing against someone and not knowing what their card does. I’ll sit there and read the card and think “Damn, I NEVER EVEN KNEW THIS CARD EXISTED!” I’ll sit there for hours on the Wizards of the Coast MTG card Database looking up cards or just hitting the “random” button over and over, until I see a card that peaks my interest. On top of the research that goes into deck building, there’s also a zen like feeling and serenity to constructing the deck. It’s calming and relaxing to try to put a deck together that can stomp your opponents while also trying to build a synergy. It truly is an art form because a deck has to flow like a river and to achieve that while being forced to use different “paths/cards”. The deck has to be ready for almost anything because there is no real “Meta” for this game format. Sure, you’ll run into a lot of the same staple cards for certain colors and generals but no 2 decks within a playgroup will be the same. Even in my 3 years of playing EDH and amongst total strangers at times I’m yet to see a player run anything close to the same thing that I run. Unlike Standard, there is no rotation period so you can run the same deck for years without having to replace it. The only thing that needs to be done is the occasional upgrade.
Another thing completely exciting is the multiplayer chaos that happens during a game. Just because 1 player thinks that they have the win, it doesn’t mean that their 3 other opponents are going to let that player win the game. Alliances are started and alliances are dissolved midgame. Sometimes, someone will just troll the game by assisting the controlling player just to see where the game goes. EDH can turn from a friendly game into complete and utter madness in a matter of seconds and I love it.
If you haven’t had the chance to play EDH, I suggest that you should. Wizards of the Coast has made it easy for beginners to get into the format by releasing “Commander” Decks that usually sell for about $30 at most stores. Some card shops might hike up the prices but most places like Target or Walmart will have the pre-constructed decks for about $30. Some of the commander pre-constructed decks are better than the other, so looking into it before purchasing might be a great start. However, once you get a few games going you will learn more of your personal playing style. So after a few games your deck may need some tweaking to your playing style as you dive deeper into the wonderful game of Magic The Gathering.