Friend in need

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Sept. 13, 2019, 11:34 a.m. by Segala

What up.

I'm trying to get my friend in edh and I'm trying to build him a deck but I'm having a hard time.

I'm not to advanced in deck building myself so I thought I'd ask for help.

Just a quick description of the want and don't want for the deck (not all the wants needs to be there but all the don't want need to be respected).


•A deck built around a mechanic (preferably a mechanic that can be handled by new/intermediate player, no deadlock 20 cards combos or stuff like that).

•Between 2-3 color (This is the only one that needs to be respected).

•budget deck (Either a precon that can be upgraded later or something cheap to make from scratch. Nothing to fancy, it's for a personal play ground or lgs type of event nothing more).

•Able to recover from boardwhipe (we play a lot of control deck and they play a lot of nukes and removal)

Don't want.


•300$ cards (forget stuff like original Dual lands or gaia's craddle etc...) let's keep the price tag reasonable.

•cEDH deck (doesn't mean the deck can't be good, just nothing super OP).

•Obviously no banned cards/commanders.

That's about it. He played a few sealed games of mtg and he plays arena so he know's the basics. Other tcg he played somewhat fast decks and control decks.

Plz refrain from telling me to go to edhrec I've already checked and had no idea what to pick that's why I'm asking this question.

Thank you to anyone who tried to help, very appreciating you taking your time to do so.

Caerwyn says... #2

For a new player, I would recommend sticking to two colours. Three is where you start running into mana-fixing issues, and where things like shock lands and fetch lands become increasingly important. With two, you can get away running a number of budget-friendly lands that enter untapped, such as pain lands or check lands.

As for the deck itself, has your friend already played enough Magic to know what type of gameplay he enjoys? You said fast and control, which are a bit at odds with one another--does he have any preference, or provided any other indication of what he likes in particular?

September 13, 2019 11:48 a.m. Edited.

clowben says... #3

This youtube channel is great at building focused decks, and also gives you many budget options for decks. He also goes over a few ways to upgrade the decks.

September 13, 2019 11:49 a.m.

DrukenReaps says... #4

It seems like you ought to just pick up one of the precons. Here are the lists for all 4 of them


For a newer player I would recommend the one headed by Ghired, Conclave Exile but any of them are fine. I've had a ton of fun with Anje Falkenrath .

And I know you don't want to be sent to EDHRec but there is this rather useful Precon upgrade page you and your friend should visit after playing the precon unmodified long enough to know if he likes it.

September 13, 2019 11:52 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #5

Giving this a second more thought, here are two options that I think might fit your criteria.

  1. Meren of Clan Nel Toth - Black and Green make for decent control colors and some explosive reanimation plays. Since you'd focus on the graveyard, that helps recover from wraths.

  2. Izzet Spellslinging can be pretty fun--it combines aggressive Red burn spells with Blue's more controlling elements. Niv-Mizzet, Parun is pretty strong, allowing you to sling spells while also drawing cards to refill your hand.

September 13, 2019 12:02 p.m.

Boza says... #6

Besides another Ghired recomendation, I want to suggest two other commanders:

  • Prime Speaker Zegana - great colors, multiple ways to build (I went with wizard tribal, but there are better option as well) and can scale how impactful it is.

  • Korvold, Fae-Cursed King - this guy is part of the new Brawl decks in throne of eldraine set that have not even come out. His theme is obvious - sacrifice things for value, but he does it extremely well.

Commanders that draw cards with their abilities are great for new players.

September 13, 2019 12:36 p.m.

Panas says... #7

If your meta runs a lot of control, my suggestion is a deck piloted by Ruric Thar .

Easy to play red/green ramp deck with a strong focus on creatures and combat. Control becomes very taxing if every spell has an added 6 life to its cost :)

If you wanted to, I could upload a prototype decklist that you can work with.

Alternatively, you can take a look at Jumbo Commander's reference list here: DJ's Ruric Thar

September 13, 2019 12:39 p.m.

dbpunk says... #8

Here's a question: what colors do they already play?

Also, I've had the same issue with my mom (since I play with her and she doesn't like complicated multicard interactions, generally the decks I build are simple enough for her to understand but strong enough to compete) and generally the commanders that I've noticed work best for commanders are the big legends from RTR block ( Isperia, Supreme Judge , Lazav, Dimir Mastermind , Rakdos the Defiler , Borborygmos Enraged , Trostani, Selesnya's Voice , Obzedat, Ghost Council , Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord , Prime Speaker Zegana , Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind , Aurelia, The War Leader) or the first legendary from each of the tricolor decks ( Rafiq of the Many , Sharuum the Hegemon , Sedris, the Traitor King , Kresh the Bloodbraided , Mayael the Anima , Zurgo Helmsmasher , Anafenza, the Foremost , Sidisi, Brood Tyrant , Surrak Dragonclaw , Narset, Enlightened Master ).

None of them are horribly expensive, and you can build fun decks using any of them using simple strategies but the nice thing about them is that you can slowly build them up into better and better decks over time if you like playing them.

September 13, 2019 12:41 p.m.

Segala says... #9

I looked up the recommendation I got from you guys and there's 3 of them that really seemed interesting for him.

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King .

Izzet Spellslinging, But I was thinking maybe going with Elsha of the Infinite but I'm not sure.

Anje Falkenrath .

But I'm confused on what are the main win cons are for each of them.

September 13, 2019 12:55 p.m.

dbpunk says... #10

Korvold is probably going to win by beat down, pure and simple. But you'll also wanna include lots of death and sacrifice triggers.

Elsha is basically gonna look to win by burn or something. Depends on how you build it.

Anje... Is a straight up combo deck. Either that or reanimator. I would not suggest Anje. Most first time edh players would have issues with that deck.

September 13, 2019 12:58 p.m.

Segala says... #11

dbpunk then which one would you pick?

Korvold? Izzet spellslinging (not sure on the commander) or Alesha?

September 13, 2019 1:07 p.m.

dbpunk says... #12

Well if this is a new player, I'd say Korvold tbh.

If there's one thing I know about teaching people to play edh, they tend to like simple, battlecruiser style play at first. They like having a field and being able to swing and tap with some dude who's a 15/15.

Unlike Elsha or Izzet Spellslinger decks, you don't have to invest tons of money to make it work or be targeted from the get go (which would happen with Elsha).

But it also kinda matters on your friend. Like generally a first edh deck should be a style they like to play most, and they might prefer a simple control deck or a token deck. You should also think on what types of decks they play in other formats or what they think is cool.

September 13, 2019 1:15 p.m.

Segala says... #13

dbpunk I just want to make sure that the deck will let him interact with the battlefield/the game. I saw a few people teaching edh and some of the deck they used did very little in a game. Most of the time they would develop their board but the other player wouldn't even notice since the deck wasn't doing much. Then someone would wrath the board and they were stuck on and empty board for 5-10 turns on just draw and pass. This is what I'd like to avoid with him.

Getting him a deck with a lot of player/ game interactions. Easy to make a new field after wraths etc...

September 13, 2019 1:31 p.m.

i think the best way to avoid a board wipe is just to use counterspells. avoiding $300 cards shouldn't be too hard. why does your friend not like tribal decks? those are typically the easiest for new players, and they can be decently powerful.

September 13, 2019 1:58 p.m.

Segala says... #15

SliverKing420X I don't know. My guess is he didn't find a tribe that was super interesting for him right now.

September 13, 2019 2:09 p.m.
September 13, 2019 2:14 p.m.

I will 100% always recommend Meren of Clan Nel Toth for a starting commander player. It is very very forgiving to bad plays and can get better as the player gets better up to a cEDH power level if they so choose to get that competitive. Very resilient to board wipes, dredge and reanimate is pretty easy to wrap your head around as long as you aren't going combo style dredge a la gitrog, and black and green allow for most things other colors are capable of. The floor for this is very low and the sky is the limit

September 13, 2019 2:16 p.m.

Segala says... #18

SliverKing420X not sure why you're proposing tribal decks since it's clearly said in the post no tribals.

GhostChieftain thanks for the input but right now I'm more debating between 3 decks (as you can see in the responses 12-13-14).

September 13, 2019 2:29 p.m.

not sure why you're so opposed to tribals when it should be your friends decision and you sound like you're making that for him. it also clearly meets the criteria of being new player friendly. zombies in particular often recur themselves from the grave allowing easy recovering from board wipes. and almost any tribe can benefit from Patriarch's Bidding and Return from Extinction . so you and your friend should keep an open mind, otherwise you run the risk of losing out on cool decks that would be perfectly capable of doing everything else you want.

September 13, 2019 2:35 p.m.

Segala says... #20

SliverKing420X I'm sorry but when did the choice of the deck/general became your decision? I'm not making the decision for him dude. Maybe if you would read the reply I sent earlier maybe you could understand.

And maybe you should stop commenting on post like this with specific guide lines if you can't follow them or stop forcing your opinions on people after being rejected the first time.

September 13, 2019 2:46 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #21

I am going to disagree with dbpunk that Korvold makes for a good commander for a new player. One of the hardest things for a new player to grasp is that it is 100% okay to sacrifice your own permanents (or pay life) to advance your victory. I often find newer players perform rather poorly when they're given a sacrifice-based deck to pilot, simply because they have a hard time performing the cost-benefit analysis on whether sacrificing your permanents is worthwhile.

Control, which I suggested, also runs into the same problem, particularly in a multiplayer environment. A strong control player knows how to analyse threats and adjust accordingly, which requires a fairly strong knowledge of what your opponents are likely to do. In 1v1, that is generally not that big of a problem--you work to shut down your only opponent. In a four-player match, the control player can't control everyone; they need to make a number of complex decisions based on threat analysis and meta expectations that might be beyond the skill of a novice.

So, that said, I think I am going to retract my suggestion of Izzet control. That's a good second deck for a newer player, but not a great introductory deck.

September 13, 2019 2:46 p.m.

Segala says... #22

Caerwyn then what would you suggest instead?

September 13, 2019 2:49 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #23

Meren of Clan Nel Toth - While graveyard shenanigans can be a bit difficult for a newer player, Meren does so in a fairly straightforward, easy-to-understand way. For a very new player still learning the math of "when do I block/let damage through" she is very forgiving, allow the player to recur blockers they lost. For a mid-level to experienced player, they can start messing around with dredge and other methods of filling their graveyard to cheat large threats into play.

She has a very low floor, and a very high ceiling, making her a great starting commander that can grow alongside the player.

September 13, 2019 2:59 p.m.

im not forcing anything or making any decisions. i DID read your reply, maybe you should read mine. you havent given any viable reason to not include tribal decks as a possibility. quite literally, the only reasoning you offered was basically "just because". thats not a viable reason.

you said you wanted the deck to be able to recover from board wipes. tribal decks, especially zombie decks, can do this. you are literally handicapping yourself by just arbitrarily ignoring deck archetypes for literally no reason.

September 13, 2019 3:04 p.m.

dbpunk says... #25

Caerwyn thats a really solid point, in that a lot of players don't like sacrificing things. But I also know from experience that new players don't really understand how Meren works really. Like my mom still doesn't understand how she works, and I was using a Meren deck while playing against her for over a year.

An alternative, which actually might be a good one, is Kresh the Bloodbraided . It's a relatively simple deck, doesn't require sacrificial spells, can recover from a field wipe easily since Kresh is in easy ramp colors and benefits from cards that focus on giving it indestructible/regrnerate, and gives the player a feeling of being the stompiest player ever?

September 13, 2019 3:13 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #26

dbpunk - I suppose the experience counters being on the player can be a bit confusing, though I've never had too much trouble with new players on Meren. I suppose it is safe to conclude that any commander that would be easy for 100% of new players would be too boring to play!

Kresh seems like a good suggestion, though I still have skepticism about three colour decks, since nothing quite turns off a new player like mana issues. At the very least, the new player can pump the deck full of a bunch of removal spells, since they both boost the commander and allow the new player to be an interactive and important part of the game (even if they might not necessarily win).

September 13, 2019 3:18 p.m. Edited.

Segala says... #27

SliverKing420X You know whay I'm just gonna stop replying to you and I would ask you to stop commenting on my posts please. This is going no where.

And by the way we don't need to give you a reason for not wanting to play something. He just doesn't want to period.

September 13, 2019 3:26 p.m.

Segala says... #28

dbpunk,Caerwyn both very good points we will think about it. Thanks.

September 13, 2019 3:28 p.m.

Segala says... #30

dbpunk,Caerwyn when he was checking for Korvold, Fae-Cursed King 's brawl precon he came across Alela, Artful Provocateur 's and Chulane, Teller of Tales 's, he was wondering if they would be a good pick.

I do remember reading that a general that makes you draw cards is good for new players and Alela looks like she rewards you for playing stuff. What do you guys think?

September 13, 2019 4:11 p.m.

dbpunk says... #31

I think either would be. They're both pretty straight forward, solid commanders.

September 13, 2019 4:45 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #32

I like both those cards for a beginner. They're neat little cards that give you additional utility for something you'd already be doing (casting artifacts/creatures). Chulane has a higher ceiling than Alela, which is worth considering (you can use things like Food Chain and Misthollow Griffin to draw your entire deck using Chulane, winning through Laboratory Maniac ). It's not the best Food Chain deck, but it at least would be a fairly competitive next step to take.

September 13, 2019 4:48 p.m.

I also like those two. In my opinion chulane is better for a new player because it is easier to understand the value of a creature than the value of an artifact or enchantment when just beginning. Along with drawing cards it will ramp you so you can play bigger and more impressive things, and that can feel very rewarding when you are learning.

September 13, 2019 5:05 p.m.

Segala says... #34

Cool chulane it is then.

Any cards you guys think are mvp in the deck ?

September 13, 2019 5:11 p.m.

dbpunk says... #35

God-Eternal Oketra , Cloudstone Curio and Ornithopter all combo together and work well in Chulane.

September 13, 2019 5:19 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #36

Those cards won't come out until October 4th... You sure you want to wait that long? I guess pre-release the weekend before?

September 13, 2019 5:24 p.m.

Segala says... #37

DrukenReaps yeah its cool

September 13, 2019 5:29 p.m.

I would say to have a mix of cheap mana cost creatures that do something such as Knight of Autumn , Coiling Oracle , and Eternal Witness and big creatures that are an immediate threat such as Hydra Omnivore , Nezahal, Primal Tide or even Sun Titan .

The true mvps for this deck are Food Chain and Aluren , but those are almost definitely more competitive than you are looking for.

September 13, 2019 5:35 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #39

If you want to go comboy then a bunch of low cost mana dorks like Llanowar Elves , Elvish Mystic , and Lotus Cobra with Intruder Alarm to eventually pop down Craterhoof Behemoth ... But I wouldn't do that for someone's first deck. Especially in a more laid back meta.

Since you are a more laid back meta I would go for a focus on his second ability and just go all in on ETB effects. You might still include intruder alarm but it would be a value alarm rather than a combo alarm. Some awesome ETBs: Eternal Witness , Tatyova, Benthic Druid , God-Eternal Oketra , Mulldrifter , and Sun Titan .

September 13, 2019 5:48 p.m.

I'll come up with a deck this weekend so you can get an idea of what to build.

September 13, 2019 8:08 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #41

September 13, 2019 11:19 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #42

Aww, I got here too late to give my standard reply for new players, Xenagos, God of Revels . I hope you are able to build Chulane to his liking. Best of luck!

September 14, 2019 1:19 a.m.

Actually, I'm a bit busy this weekend so I can't make the list but I'll recommend a commander: Niv-Mizzet, Parun

September 14, 2019 3:28 p.m.

Seriously though, Tribals will def help a newer player get into the game and actually help them subconsciously pay attention to Creature Sub-types. An easy one to work with: U/W Birds with Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker . So much potential and power, yet, pretty straight forward and I have had a lot of success with it and it is very cheap to build.

If you are dead set on not Tribal, then I would suggest a Green/X (X can be any other color) type build. Get them understanding the concept of ramp and something that is semi-consistent. Green will do that for them and allow them to slowly branch out. If you want a fun budget build, try Simic (G/U) with Tatyova, Benthic Druid . And build it around the General. Ramp into lands, draw cards, and play big dudes. The consistent card draw allows to continuously refuel the board if they keep "nuking" the board. And in Simic, there are a lot of "hexproof" and "shroud" creatures that you can throw in there to just give him an edge against spot removal. You could make it a theme of "hexproof" and "shroud" with Tatyova as the general and call it, "Can't touch this..."


September 16, 2019 9:38 a.m.

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