Monday, June 27, 2011

CommanderCast S3E5: Violence of the Sun

Posted by ANDY aka GHoooSTS
CommanderCast is back to running on schedule! The season's fifth podcast begins a series where we're putting mono-coloured decks in Commander under some scrutiny, with a strategy and technology segment centered on whatever colour we've chosen to discuss. Each week, we'll also have a new guest with some experience and thoughts on that colour. This week, we're doing the best installment in the series: MONO-RED.

Of course, that's not all. My man Devon, aka Obsidiandice, aka 4th Place in Great Designer Search 2 has a variety of topics to hold us down with, including a look at card design and multiplayer (EDH in particular), as well as the 2-mana installment of Curving Out. Carlos is also on deck backing me up as we continue to explore various facets of Commander on this audioscape adventure.

Also of importance: this is the last week for you to put in entries to the SEASON 3 CONTEST, and subsequently win a top-tier card alteration from Dave Lee aka Derfington of Durdling Around. But that's not all... I've got two Stoneforge Mystics sitting here, donated incredibly generously by my man and CommanderCast diehard supporter Manny for runner-up prizes. Get them alterations in! E-mail CommanderCast(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject header "Season 3 Contest Entry" for a chance to win.

Show notes and pertinent links below. Enjoy.

00:00 to 05:07: Intro: Introducing the podcast, your hosts, and a brief rundown of podcast news for the week.


05:15 to 21:11: Card Design and Commander: Devon shares his thoughts on card design as it pertains to EDH, looking at what makes a card a success in Commander, a failure, stumbling blocks in design, and an overall look at the new product.

21:23 to 34:10: Too Mean for Commander:Have you ever won a game and felt like you needed to take a shower after? During deck construction, do you ever sit there staring at a few cards, having a flashback to tables flanked by slumping, silent, salty players? Maybe your deck is a bit too mean for a social game. In this segment, we examine how to diagnose something as antisocial, how to walk the line between powerful and mean, and some personal anecdotes about the topic.


34:22 to 55:35: Mono-Red: We're taking a good, hard look at mono-red strategies. What is red good and bad at? Why bother with a mono-red deck at all? How can you shore up the weaknesses, or play to the strengths? What roles does a mono-red deck assume in the natural ecology of a healthy metagame?


55:47 to 1:12:34: Mono-Red Technology: Following up the mono-red strategy, we're putting some solid mono-red cards in the scope for your pleasure.

Andy's Picks:
Ruination, Hellkite Igniter, Steel Hellkite 
Devon's Picks:
Aftershock, Knollspine Dragon, Hoarding Dragon
Carlos' Picks:
Spinerock Knoll, Goblin Marshal, Ichor Wellspring

1:12:47 to 1:27:24: Curving Out: CMC 2: Continuing up the mana curve, we find ourselves needing some two-mana favourites. Like the one-drops, these two-mana spells need to be pretty strong to be bothered with in EDH... but we've got some solid suggestions here.

Andy's Picks:
Artificer's Intuition, Reassembling Skeleton, Back to Nature
Devon's Picks:
Spreading Seas, Knight of the White Orchard, Steely Resolve
Carlos' Picks:
Sylvan Library, Stoneforge Mystic, Hatching Plans

1:27:34 to closing: Outtro.

  • General show contact/Andy: E-mail CommanderCast(at)gmail(dot)com / Twitter @CommanderCast
  • To Contact Carlos: E-mail cag5383(at)gmail(dot)com / Twitter @cag5383
  • To Contact Devon: E-Mail obsidiandice(at)gmail(dot)com / Twitter @obsidiandice


  1. This is the second week now you guys have talked about the Join Forces mechanic, specifically how cards like Shared Trauma will never be payed into by anyone other than the caster. But you're completely missing the fact that the spell's caster might not be the only player at the table running a graveyard-based strategy. What if another player's running Wrexial, for instance? If another player drops the mill Shared Forces spell and I'm playing Wrexial, then I'm going to strongly consider throwing mana at it too.

  2. RE: Too Mean for Commander- When the rules committee unbanned Rofellos a while back, I was one of the evil ones that immediately put together a Rofellos deck and loaded it with the most evil stuff that Rofellos had to offer. I only intended to play it the once. I'll admit I was looking forward to the groans that would accompany me playing the deck.

    I was right, the deck did draw deep long and guttural groans, however I wasn't as entertained by it as I thought I would be. After making 30,000 centaurs and playing overrun for reasons that still escape me (did I expect suddenly someone would pull out 10,000 chump blockers in an Akroma angel tribal, Rafiq or Doran deck? Apparently I didn't want to take that chance) I ended up feeling really bad that I had ruined everyone's evening.

    So I ripped apart that deck (not literally though I'm sure my friends would have loved to have seen it) built a ridiculously crappy but still extremely awesome Knight tribal deck for the following weeks game and lost horribly, but with a huge grin on my face. I had so much more fun losing that game than I did winning by a mile that previous week I'll tell you.

    I still keep Rofellos in my binder of Commander staple cards to remind myself why I play this format and not standard and I've never not had a fun game of EDH/Commander since that night.

  3. What Dave said about the Joined Forces cards; they're meta cards. If someone else in your group is playing a compatable strategy, you won't be the only one fueling them (other than MCD, but that guy's just fuggin baws). They don't go into every deck, just like any other card in the format.

    In the long run, even if they turn out to be failures in the grand scheme of things, it's good that we got the designs out of the way already. These are the baseline effects. These cards are the shock and giant growth of 'Joined Forces' effects, and all future endeavors will be that much more powerful and interesting because we've already gotten the most simple basic executions of the mechanic out of the way already.

    Except for red.
    MCD is the pinnacle of red Joined Forces.

    Likewise with all the other new designs from Commander. Some will be hits (the Vows, Scavenging Ooze, etc), some will be failures (that Homunculus, I reckon) some will be niche cards that some people will play cuz they like wacky crap like that (Trench Gorger). Each additional Commander expansion (and there WILL be more) will build off the successes and failures of the previous entries and be that much better for it.

    As far as Commander centric designs in baseline expansions, I'm not much a fan. As much fun as it can be to play with stuff like the Praetors or Primieval or Consecrated (or not. To each their own), there used to be a magic to the format, of playing with creatures and spells that weren't 'good enough' in other formats, and while there's still plenty of that (what other format can straight facedly say that Insurrection or Time Stretch is playable?), the general slowing down of standard will see more and more and more creatures like the Titans and Praetors and whatnot, and we'll just have to learn to deal.
    But given Commander's self regulation, I'm quite confident that we can handle anything.

  4. Sylvan Library is up to like $8 bucks minimum, not $4. Still, I'll probably pick one up at some point, since I pretty much only play decks with green in them. :p