Elder Dragon HIghlander, EDH or Commander is an exciting format, with fun gameplay and social interactions. It is an eternal singleton format that allows players to express themselves through deck brewing and gameplay. It is not all about the variations of the cards you play and the order you play them there is also a social dynamic of a multiplayer format that affects outcomes of games. There are many aspects of the format that are enjoyable. Commander Clinic MTG will help you improve your game and hopefully help you win more.We all want to win still, commander is casual format. It was not meant to be a format that wins consistently turn three or four. The format cEDH does exactly this unless paired up with other cEDH decks. While some may enjoy, cEDH it was not the intent of the format when it was created. For this reason cEDH is not the focus of this website. There are decklists out there for cEDH and the refining of basic magic skills for the legacy or modern formats that will help you succeed in cEDH. This site wants to help refine players EDH skills as the format was conceptualized early in its creation. We explore the casual game that I fell in love with. EDH was originally played by judges during their downtime at large Magic events. It was never intended to be ultra competitive like other formats like Legacy or Modern.
Commander was meant to be variant not consistent.
Commander is a deck of 100 cards and unless cards text states otherwise a player can only have one copy of each card in their deck. This is where the “H” in EDH comes from. Back in 1986 a movie with Christopher Lambert was released to the public called Highlander. In it “immortals” battled each other through history and across the Earth. The could only be killed by having their head removed. As they killed each other they would absorb the power of the other immortals. Eventually, there would be only one immortal remaining who had all the power and the saying “There can be only one.” became the mantra for the movie. This saying applies well to the singleton format. WIth decks being larger than the 60 card standard in other formats and the singleton (single card) restriction created varied gameplay within decks as players would not know what they would draw and thus created a different feel often when the deck was played. cEDH needs consistency to win in the early turns of a commander game and strays from the formats roots.
Commander was meant to be a slow format
EDH was called elder dragon highlander because the original commanders were to be elder dragons like Chromium and Nicol Bolas. These dragons had a mana cost of eight to cast. They required three colors to cast and two of each colored mana. The ability to cast a commander and use it in the game meant that at a minimum eight turns was needed to pass to see use of the commander. This gave players more time to play larger cards that would be considered jank in the formats of their time. Commander wants players to play the big crazy spells that just are not possible in other formats. Over the years the cmc or converted mana cost of spells has dropped in commander, but the environment still encourages large and splashy spells. Large haymaker cards are still part of the format and are often ways to win the game at hand. Commander still gives their players time to cast these spells. cEDH diverges from this as players tune their decks to be as efficient as possible. cEDH looks to win turn three or four. Not turns ten or twelve.
Commander breeds creativity
Commander is an eternal format. That means if a magic card was made, if it is not on the banned list it is legal. The banlist consists of two lists. The EDH ban list that consists of 39 cards and the vintage banned list which restricts 37 cards. The 99 card main deck and allowing only one of each card gives the deckbuilder more room to choose cards that interact with each other. With the slower format and the large card pool to choose from this leaves a lot of room for a deck builder to select cards that interact with each other and have strong game changing effects. With such diversity there is no way for a commander player to prepare for them all. A variety of different decks can be found at the casual commander table. Where cEDH decks are far more restrictive if a player wants to win.
Commander creates more social interaction
Commander games are mostly multiplier. There are exceptions to this but it is safe to assume when you play commander you will be playing with multiple opponents. Part of the game is not just having fun and interacting with the other people at the table but also influencing them to do things that will benefit you. It could be attacking someone else and to deal with a threat on the board. cEDH often looks for ways to win fast that does not require the help of the other players at the table. In fact it looks to try and win despite the other players at the table. It is more about the card interactions. This creates a situation that is far more black and white. Stop the play of this card right now or it is game over often for everyone at the table. In short it minimizes the social interaction aspect of the game.
In the end cEDH is a different breed of commander. It is not bad or wrong and competitive players have adapted the EDH format towards the game they enjoy. For a portion of the commander playing public it diverges from what they are expecting and it also causes an escalation in deck building and causes players to spend more and more money on their decks if the player wishes to have a chance at winning. For this reason, Commander Clinic will not focus on cEDH but casual format of EDH which is closer to what the original format was intended to be.