Dissatisfaction with the way I win.

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Feb. 19, 2017, 7:38 p.m. by PhotogenicParasympathetic

I play a handful of decks, and I'm tired of the way I achieve victory - I feel like either it's my combo decks, which out of nowhere just end the game, or it's my battlecruiser decks that establish a board state that makes my opponents scoop long before I'm ready to actually produce a victory.

Does anyone have any suggestions for decks that play closer games? Where the victory isn't seen coming a mile off, but also doesn't just combo off outta nowhere?

Probably not. I dunno that such a thing exists. I'm mostly irritated that my playgroup gets pissy at me for running combos, but scoops before I have a chance to earn victory with a slower deck.

DrLitebur says... #2

Honestly, in EDH, most decks win in one of those two ways. They either establish a dominating board presence, or they combo into something like infinite turns, or infinite damage, or something else of the like. Everyone is doing it, regardless of what they say. I have 4 EDH decks, a Kaalia of the Vast deck, a Animar, Soul of Elements deck, an Atraxa, Praetors' Voice deck, and a fourth I cannot remember off the top of my head. Kaalia combos angels, dragons and demons for free, Animar makes things like Eldrazi and other huge things free, and Atraxa is a Superfriends proliferate build. That is what I play, and it is an interesting series of decks, but each has a specific idea and build to go along with it. The most competitive one is Kaalia, but by far the funnest one is Atraxa. You have to figure out what you want to play, and have the best fun you can build out of it, because ultimately EDH is about having fun.

February 19, 2017 7:47 p.m.

Megalomania says... #3

Try Kaalia of the Vast or Xenagos, God of Revels. They are pretty effective if the group's idea of fun is turning creatures sideways.

February 19, 2017 7:49 p.m.

chirz2792 says... #4

You could try a control deck that uses alternate win cons like Felidar Sovereign, Laboratory Maniac, Epic Struggle and the one enchantment that wins when you have 20 or more creatures in your yard. Alternatively you could try theft and clone type effects. My friend runs a Lazav, Dimir Mastermind deck that has a heavy control element to it but it almost never wins in the same manner because it uses the opponent's stuff against them. I can link it if you're interested.

February 19, 2017 7:53 p.m.

SaberTech says... #5

Do you tend to win a majority of the EDH games you play with your friends? It sounds like you have some of the stronger decks in your group. If that's the case, then it may not matter what sort of win condition you use since your friends are always going to feel outgunned by the cards you are running (which may be why they're quitting during the slower games).

I'm not going to suggest weakening your decks, since I would hate to do that to mine, but maybe you could build decks that use strategies that scale with your opponents? Decks that use a lot of clone effects are restricted to the power level of creatures your opponents use, so perhaps a The Mimeoplasm deck that uses a bunch of clones and reanimation effects? Or you could go political, and use commanders like Grenzo, Havoc Raiser or Gahiji, Honored One that encourage your opponents to attack each other instead of you. Granted, there are some people who find those strategies more obnoxious than regular ones, so you would be the best person to make that call in regards to the people you usually play against.

February 19, 2017 8:46 p.m.

chaosumbreon87 says... #6

My suggestion: try group hug or group slug. Both are fun in their own rights, and win in very unforseen ways. This is part of the reason I built norin- no one feels threatened by him power wise, but he is feared chaos wise. So try those lines?

February 19, 2017 10:26 p.m.

griffstick says... #7

Voltron. Give that a shot

February 19, 2017 11:06 p.m.

DuTogira says... #8

Two stipulations and a suggestion:

First, you sound a little board with winning in the two most conventional ways in commander: board states and combo kills. To the end of fixing that, try building a deck that instead of winning, just doesn't lose. Rather than doing so via pillow fort etc, try building a deck that is heavy on removal and runs only a handful of creatures with which to win.
Second, you have a bunch of pooper scoopers in your group who you want to beat before they concede. To that end you seem to want a deck that still can pull wins out of the blue with individual cards (so not board based).

Assuming I've properly understood what you're after, here is my suggestion: make a deck around 2 or 3 non creature cards that have the capacity to win on their own. Such decks largely are on the "don't lose" strategy until they rip one of said cards. Examples:
Aetherflux Reservoir lifegain. (Oloro?)
Villainous Wealth control. (7 drop sultai gorgon?)
A steal your opponent's stuff deck.
Psychic Spiral self mill. (Jeleva?)
Jhoira of the Ghitu with a big janky spell deck.
The list goes on. These decks won't be top tier competitive, but they will be a bit more unique, which is what I'm thinking you were going for.

February 20, 2017 2:04 a.m.

DuTogira says... #9

Final suggestion: 5-C lands deck which wins with Maze's End. The rest of the deck can be full of fun/ jank or whatever you want, and that win ALWAYS comes out of nowhere.

February 20, 2017 2:18 a.m.

I would say good suggestion DuTogira but progenitus and alara baby decks already play that expected win with scapeshift and land combos. Replacing the commander does little there. 4 color mazes end sounds fun though

February 20, 2017 2:53 a.m.

pizzagod13 says... #11

You could play super friends or a ramp into big creatures deck. Nether win out of nowhere which is what you want, altougth the super friends deck may have them scoop before you win if you get a relevant ultimate

February 20, 2017 8:46 a.m.

landofMordor says... #12

I would agree with SaberTech totally, and also with chaosumbreon87's first comment. If your playgroup resents the ways you win, building chaos/group hug/political decks are the way to go, since you can still have fun with those (and those decks will also keep games light and fun enough so that your friends will be more likely to be in a good mood if they lose through one of your usual decks). I've found that Temur, Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis and/or Jeskai grouphug/chaos can be super fun to play, especially.

February 20, 2017 9:32 a.m.

maxon says... #13

Rakdos, Lord of Riots is a deck I had a lot of fun creating and playing. If you get the numbers right, you should be able to ping one of the players who hasn't cast a creature yet and get rakdos out on turn 4. Then on your next swing, you crack the biggest threat in the head for 6 commander and spew out as many fatties as you have (or want to cast). On turn 5 you could conceivably cast 2 or 3 big baddies. Life totals will drop fast.

Another deck I run is Gisa and Geralf. It's not so much built to win as it is a way for me to address my zombie lust. It does end up putting a lot of pressure out though, and has gotten it's fair share of wins. The number of good zombies is basically endless, and with enough self milling in the deck, a Laboratory Maniac can be a fun way to auto win. Your wallet will take a hit though if you want the best of the zombie cards/lords and don't already have them. At least you only need one copy.

February 20, 2017 11:19 a.m.

I've debated this question myself. I feel like EDH win-cons almost always boil down to combo, Eldrazi titans, voltron, or lockdown. It definitely gets boring after a while. It's really difficult to win and just play the "value creature" game like you would in a 60 card format. That being said, after mulling over this for a bit I thought of two options:

  1. Play a Birthing Pod or Salvaging Station-centered deck. This allows you to out value the other players who are playing generic "value creature" decks through sheer card advantage.

  2. Play a strong general like Kaalia of the Vast except eliminate the things that make her broken like the MLD and the Hellcarver Demon + Doomsday combo. Replace these things with cards that simply hinder your opponents but don't lock them out (I.e. Blood Moon, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Ethersworn Canonist, etc.)

Hope that helps!

February 22, 2017 1:25 p.m.

I guess a third option would be mill with one of the only viable mill generals, Phenax, God of Deception. However, this strategy gets hosed pretty hard if anyone in your playgroup plays one of the original zendikar Eldrazi titans.

February 22, 2017 1:31 p.m.

00xtremeninja says... #16

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker is also a great mill commander

February 23, 2017 2:31 a.m.

@00xtremeninja: I agree with Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker being a great mill general. I just do not like the fact that it is almost required that you run swords with him. This just makes him less accessible to most players, however if you have the income he is great.

February 23, 2017 8:46 a.m.

00xtremeninja says... #18


While true, I only run Sword of Body and Mind in my mirko deck and that is on the cheaper end of them.

However, budget options I have found for making him effective are of course Lightning Greaves Trailblazer's Boots and Fireshrieker

February 23, 2017 10 a.m.

I would argue that in Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker, Sword of Fire and Ice as well as Sword of Body and Mind are mandatory includes, while Sword of Feast and Famine would be nice it's not as necessary as he other 2. The others are not really relevant.

February 23, 2017 10:15 a.m.

RedUndead40 says... #20

Try some group slug styles. Kills everyone 1 damage at a time, then your opponents cant really complain.

Nekusar, the Mindrazer

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Mogis, God of Slaughter

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

Stuff like that. Low board presence so nobody scoops fast. Pours on damage slowly so nobody can complain about combos. But can also have 80+ damage turns and the like.

February 23, 2017 12:42 p.m.

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