Hey everyone, welcome to my first article, hopefully of many. I wanted to use this article to explain my philosophy behind building EDH decks for Magic, as this will underpin a lot of what I want to write about in future articles, and it allows you folk to see what I am all about. Hopefully it might also explain why I wanted to write for MTGCasualPlay in particular!
1) It Limits Creativity.
For me (and if people disagree then that’s cool), EDH is all about bringing out creativity in deck building, meaning that those crazy 9 mana Sorcery spells every one ignores for Standard, Modern etc to be played (for example Clone Legion from Dragons of Tarkir). If you include the same ten “staple” cards in every deck then you lose some of the room for that creativity to express itself.
I like to try and find alternatives to those cards, especially ones that make people go “What the hell does THAT do?”. It isn’t always possible, and the reason staple cards are what they are is because they are often the most efficient, or effective at what they do. But then again, I am not always looking for efficiency (hey, if you build a Goblin EDH deck, you are never likely to be efficient!).
2) It Get’s Expensive
Whilst Wizards of the Coast have been reprinting several of these cards in Commander decks in recent years, they are still pretty expensive to get hold of. A quick check shows that whilst Sol Ring can be gotten for around $3-4 (or ~£3 here in the UK), Sensei’s Divining Top is at least $30 (and varies between £18-23 here in the UK). If you have to buy a new one of these every time you want to build a new deck, then that is going to add up quickly.
It is possible to get similar effects (granted not quite the same) for much cheaper. One good example of this is replacing Sol Ring with Ur-Golem’s Eye. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this is a swap that will make you a powerhouse, far from it: for a start it if a whole more for the same effect. However, Ur-Golem’s Eye is easily available for $0.20 or less, so it does make a viable alternative on a tight budget.
3) It Gets Predictable
This reason is one that can affect gameplay quite a bit. If every deck you build contains the same core cards, you make it very easy for your opponents to build a deck to simply hate out yours. In effect the core cards warp the local meta around them, and this can then become an arms race to out do one another. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but for a format that has some 15,000 cards available to it, it seems a tragic shame.
None of my reasons above are anything I would ever criticise folk for when it comes to building their decks, but it does explain the philosophy behind how I approach my decks. Sure some of them will have some of these cards in: lets be honest they are great cards! However, you may also see janky, weird cards in a deck list that contains none of these things. When you do, the above reasons will be why. I am lucky enough that my gaming group’s meta is pretty casual. Don’t get me wrong there are guys in it who will buy Shocklands and Fetchlands, and will certainly add in staple cards where they feel it is appropriate, but I do not have to compete against a core of cards in every deck, so it keeps things fresh and challenging at the same time.
What are your thoughts on staples for EDH? Do they improve the game? Do like them? Hate them? Let me know in the comments below. Next time out I am going to look at the first EDH deck I built (in it’s current form), to see ho it compares to this philosophy. Until next time!