Category: General


Hello and welcome to Nerd Alert!  This is a Magic: the Gathering Commander blog, updated every Tuesday and Thursday, featuring deckbuilding tips, strategy, editorials, and more.  Tuesday alternates features between general strategy articles on just about anything Commander, a deck building column entitled Deck Salad Surgery, or an editorial on the Commander scene in general.  If you’d like your deck to be dissected and discussed in DSS, please send it on in!  Thursday is a Card(z) of the Week column, discussing cards or categories of cards that catch my eye for the Commander format.

This blog initially began as an essay for a friend explaining the differences in card selection in Commander vs. standard Magic.  It is now my attempt to bridge the gap between the so-called “competitive” and “casual” Commander crowds.  I believe both crowds want fundamentally the same experience out of playing Commander; their fundamental difference comes from their approach to deck building.  My goal is to educate the “casual” crowd how to understand and approach deckbuilding such that they will not be at a disadvantage when shuffling up against them, but without having to change what their deck does.  As such, it contains intermediate and advanced strategies but is written with relatively new comers to Magic and Commander in mind.  Thanks for reading, and comments are always appreciated!

Here’s how this is gonna go

Monday will feature either a strategy article or a deck creation article (like the Dralnu series).  Wednesday will be a Deck Doctor article, provided you people send me enough material, or an editorial* or miscellaneous if not.  Friday will be the Card of the Week feature.


* This feature is tentatively entitled either “Why I Hate You” or “Here Is Why Your Ideas Suck”.


Just like the Primeval Titan you can’t get rid of, I’m baaaaaack!

My exceptionally long hiatus was due to two things.  The first is that I had to finish my semester of law school and I had zero time for Magic at all, much less writing about it for you folks.  The second is that once I got my time back, I had to rekindle my interest in the game.  That took longer than expected.  I think I’ve played less than 10 games of Magic since March.  Egads.

Then the bug bit again (pun intended, as you’ll see).  I was looking over an unholy legacy Show and Tell deck featuring the hep new cat Griselbrand and I said to myself: I need to do that.  I NEED to do that!!  The wheels started turning on a rather disgusting seeming BUG deck (see? get it?) which is tentatively entitled “Draw ALL the cards!”

Just yesterday, I went out and picked up an Entomb and a Griselbrand.  Then I read today that he’s now more accurately called “Griselbanned”.  In the first banning since Emracool, the Aeons Hip, Sheldon and the RC gave the axe not only to my new fast friend but to Sundering Titan as well.  I guess I get why they axed that sick 7/7 — usually when I get excited about something, it’s a sign nobody else at the table is going to have any fun.  Banning ol’ Tits is fine too.  I don’t play him and generally don’t have any fun when anybody else does either.

I think the deck is still do-able and will still be good, it’s just … sad.  And incredibly ironic, really.  I intend to do another deck-building feature on here for it.  Maybe I’ll go less cutthroat and more thematic with it.  Should be fun, right?

So that’s plan #1.  The next plan involves two new weekly features I’d like to add to the site.  The first is to do a “Card of the Week” sort of thing.  You know, the usual.  I’ll talk about some choice sleeper, or some overrated thing, or whatever.  Feel free to submit recommendations for cards you’d like to see talked about, too.  The second is to do a Deck Doctor sort of thing, where you lot can submit a deck to me and I’ll dissect it, talk about card choices, and make recommendations.  FUN!  INTERACTIVE!  WEB 2.0!

Also, with Land Tax now unbanned in Legacy, it might be a good time to pick a few up, along with its comrade-in-arms, Scroll Rack.  Both are EDH staples that will probably get more expensive.

Website Updates!

Hey hey hey everybody.  Sorry for the absence of content — I know you’ve all been paralyzed, waiting breathlessly at your computer for new infos from me, unable to live your lives.  Well, live on, loyal readers.

I had to migrate the website from the atrociously slow and crappy GoDaddy hosting service over to the wonderful and much faster HostGator.  I’m sure I could get paid for referrals but that probably takes some kind of signing up and extra work garbage.  I moved the THWOMP website over and everything should perform better, save for the parts of the THWOMP website that were programmed in aspx and will no longer work.  That’s a project for tomorrow.

So, beyond that, I’ve also added 3 decklists to the website, and a menu above, directing you both to the decklists themselves as well as a brief “getting started” tour for new readers.  Also, in stock WordPress fashion, I’ve added a header of our friend Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, who will, for the time being, serve as the site mascot.  He’s blue, evil, crushing, and soulless, so he does the job perfectly.

Getting Started

This blog is strategy for the Commander variant of Magic: the Gathering.  My strategy stems largely from a core theory developed in the first few posts.  While it’s certainly not required to do so, reading those posts first will make the blog much more cohesive.  Here is a suggested reading list, in order:

On Life Totals and Winning – this is the general theory that introduces the stranglehold concept and investigates why Commander should be approached differently than other variants.

Establishing a Stranglehold – this article expands on the stranglehold theory and discusses how to “get there” and what sorts of cards to look for when building Commander decks.

On Consistency – this article expands upon the concept of consistency outlined in “Establishing a Stranglehold”.

On Reliability – this article expands upon the concept of reliability outlined in “Establishing a Stranglehold”.

The Art of Disruption – winning games of Commander requires not losing games of Commander.  This article explains the how and why of not losing.

Mission Statement

Hello and welcome to Nerd Alert.  I intend to use this bloggity-blog to blog about blog-worthy subjects.  Specifically, strategy for playing and building decks in the Commander format (also known as EDH) of Magic: the Gathering.

I’ve been playing Magic off and on since the Dark was released or about 16 years.  (Jesus.)  Most recently, I got back in after a few year hiatus during the Ravnica block and have been playing steadily ever since.  My tournament career’s high-water mark was winning a Grand Prix qualifier during Invasion / Odyssey standard, but aside from the occasional draft I don’t do much sanctioned Magic.

A few years ago, my good buddy and I decided to build a “big deck”, comprising of singletons of whatever cards we wanted, with the rule that any card in your hand could be played face-down as a land which counted as all basic land types, a basic land, a non-basic land, and produced snow mana.  This format was incredibly fun and varied, and quite skill-intensive in demanding decisions on which cards to play as lands (there were very very few lands included in the deck).

It wasn’t long before I was finally convinced to give what was at the time known as EDH, or Elder Dragon Highlander, a shot.  My friend had built an Uril, the Miststalker deck and a Numot, the Devastator deck.  I took to the format almost immediately and built a Kaervek the Merciless deck with that same friend out of cards we had lying around.  After building a deck it was a bromance with the format that lasts to this day.

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