Commanding Respect : Being Nice

In my year and a half of playing Elder Dragon Highlander, I’ve been able to witness a variety of decks across the table. From the $5,000 fully foiled Azami, Lady of Scrolls combo/control decks to the $10 fresh-from-draft Hixus, Prison Warden decks, everyone certainly seems to have their own opinion on how to play EDH. And all in all, this is excellent to the diversity of the format.

Some players choose to take Commander to the level of their Modern or Legacy decks — huge, powerful engine decks that tend to win every game, extremely aggressive decks capable of turn three wins, or decks designed to stop anyone from playing cards while they take 20 turns. Commanding Respect will be based around these players.

“And now, he will try.”

Taking a quote from the Super Smash Bros. documentary, “The Smash Bros.,” some competitive players seem to struggle with the concept of when to actually pull out your tier one deck for meaningful gameplay.

One of the real kings of combo in EDH.

It’s not worth it to try out your Hermit Druid deck against someone with their casual Nahiri, the Lithomancer deck, for example. Sure, you get to practice the combo. Sure, you get to show off your deck. But now you have a player sitting across the table from you who hasn’t gotten to play their deck, and you probably could have just goldfished against a wall for all that mattered.

If you ever want to get better, you need to throw your deck against other decks of the same caliber. As a Spike, you probably won’t enjoy the feeling of winning less. But interaction is good. You need to figure out how your deck fares against Force of Will, or if someone exiles your combo piece.

I’ve seen on Reddit a few times the idea of a 75% deck, but I don’t entirely agree with this approach. Fluctuating power levels means that your deck will sometimes function like a 100% deck, and sometimes it might be somewhere around 50%.

A good example of a casual commander.

I wholly recommend building decks of different strengths that you enjoy playing. You’re a Spike, so you can keep wincons in the deck — most people agree the game needs to end sometime, but maybe make sure you deck doesn’t just win turn three after everyone has played their lands. Save that for when someone else wants to take you on with their Animar, Soul of Elements deck that’s been fine-tuned for years and years. Play your Kangee, Aerie Keeper bird tribal deck or something, but don’t spoil their fun with your misplaced sense of power.

Because guess what — they’ve been fine-tuning it against other competitive decks. And in order to win, you need to make sure you have been too.

You wouldn’t practice Legacy against a draft deck, would you?