The Commanders Chair – Useless Article

Normally, this would be where I would post some sort of Commander tech and give advice about how to make your deck more suitable for your playgroup. Not today! Today, I am just too freaking excited about the face-off that will be going down in the next few hours.

For those of you who do not know, Luis, I play squadron hawks in EVERY format, Acosta will be facing off against Amanda, if I brew it – they will come, Stevens. You might be asking yourself, “Why are they facing off?” Here is the story;

Once upon a time on a podcast, with casters all located very far away, there was a cheerful lad. This lad liked to partake from the nectar of the gods. On this evening he was enjoying a beverage bestowed upon him by a gentleman by the name of Mr. Daniels. While sipping his beverage he and his fellow casters were swapping tales of triumph and splendor, of close calls and crushing defeats. One of these stories, told by Amanda, was how she nearly won a tournament of champions by enlisting the help from the beasts that dwells in the deepest reaches of the forests. As was his custom, Luis scoffed at such savage methods. He remarked that a true warrior would use more subtle creatures along with his own prowess to defeat his enemies. Luis implied that the near victory would have been a complete victory, had she only had the proper mind set to use the proper technique.

While Amanda had taken such insults as lightly as possible, this time our fair lady could not stand the breach of honor. Luis had slapped her across the face with a leather glove of twisting and the only proper response was a dual. The terms were set and the dual was scheduled, to settle matters of honor and pride.

We left it up to our fans on Facebook to decide what formats should be used to decide who was the greater Magic player, and therefore correct in all things. Thanks to our very small pool of fans on Facebook, the formats for the face-off were decided as Build Your Own Standard, Chaos Sealed, and Commander.

BYOS (Bring Your Own Scotch Build Your Own Standard)

BYOS is a new format to me. Basically, you get to choose any 2 expansion blocks and 1 standard set from 5th edition or later. The banned list is the legacy banned list in addition to anything banned in Block Constructed.

I have only done a small amount of testing with both of them for this format. From what little I have seen, Luis is a heavy favor with his build. He has found a very good balance between power and control that Amanda will have a hard time fighting. However, in testing he was prone to make misplays that could easily cost him the game. His list is strong, but requires him to play well or risk losing to himself.

Amanda’s most recent build was a little slower, but could win based on consistency. She has been swamped lately and has not had the time to brew as much as she would like. I was hoping to see a match of two completely new builds. Instead, I feel like we are going to be seeing some tweaked versions of familiar decks.

Chaos Sealed – Identical Pools

In my opinion, this is probably the best format of the three for deciding who the better overall Magic player is. Our dear friend Jason, who I believe writes for this site, picked up 6 packs from 6 random sets while he was at Gen Con. These six packs were opened and given to Luis and Amanda as their sealed pool. With them using the same pool of cards to build a deck, in a sealed format they had no way of testing, we should be able to see who the better limited player is. This match will likely come down to who can build the best deck. Since Amanda is the deck builder of the two, I feel she has the edge over Luis.

Here is the pool they are working with.


Chances are, Commander is going to be the tie-breaker format. This is perfect, because Commander will most likely be played in a 5 game match. I have been running a mini-camp with both Luis and Amanda to get them into shape for this matchup. I hope it has been as helpful for them as it has been entertaining for me. The lessons have been tough for both of them. Both of them have some commander experience, but neither of them have a lot of experience with cutthroat Commander dueling.

Duals are decided by a number of factors;

  • The most important factor in duels is speed. If only one player has mana acceleration in the first few turns, chances are they are going to walk over the other player.
  • Players who draw relevant answers will have a much better chance. This sounds obvious, but if a player does not have a way to slow down another player they should mulligan or they will be doomed.
  • In group games, the mana curve in a deck is not very important. In a dual, a high end curve could force a player to wait a few turns before making a play, while their opponent sets up a strong board position.
  • Drawing additional cards and digging into your deck is a must in duals. If you are depending on your top decks, you are losing.

We will be posting the results and video as soon as possible. Let us know who you want to win in the comments.


About SwordsToPlow

I like building and tuning decks to make them more fun and more effective.

Posted on August 9, 2011, in Articles, The Commander's Chair and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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