What is your favorite gameplay trick for EDH?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on June 27, 2020, 11:56 p.m. by SynergyBuild

In EDH, there are tons of different triggers, threats, and physical issues like getting space for 4 people, finding time, and tons more, for winning to keeping cards safe!

What are your favorite secrets tips that would help the average EDH player, I'll go first:


1. When sleeving cards, many people double sleeve, and sleeve the inner sleeve upside down (excluding side-loaded sleeves) and then use an outer sleeve oriented right-side up. As the only way for easy damage to double-sleeved cards are water/liquid damage if a drink is spilled, I recommend making the inner sleeve right-side up and the outer sleeve upside-down. This will mean if you pick up your cards naturally, the outer sleeve will drain the liquid without seeping it into the inner sleeve, if you have reasonably fast reflexes. It's a small tip, and only ever helped me once, but I saved ~70 dollars worth of cards so I'd say it was useful!

2. Additionally, in games, I recommend always when proposed with a deal, to ask for some side benefits every time. If someone comes to you for a deal, like to kill something you would have killed anyway, ask the play to not attack you for the next two turns, or to kill your creatures on their next turn. If they are coming to you, you have the upper hand in the negotiation, and they often won't think twice about accepting it.

It's free real estate!


Now What are your tips?

P.S. This is the 10th EDH question post, thank you all so much for the wonderful conversations!

TypicalTimmy says... #2

Fight to the Death is a horrendously underlooked card that needs more play.

As for useful tips:

  • Sleeve all decks in the same color, usually black. Then, if you have an expensive card such as Gaea's Cradle, you can just pop it in and out of decks without unsleeving and resleeving.

  • If you do this, use a blank notecard and write down what cards the deck needs to be complete before play so you know what you are missing

  • Or use a small notepad to know where the cards are in which decks

  • You don't need a box of tokens. Use one token to represent the creatures as a whole and dice to represent how many are attacking and blocking. Keep other information, such as +1/+1 counters, handy. Keeps the boardstate smaller and easier to navigate.

June 28, 2020 midnight Edited.

TypicalTimmy says... #3

What I mean is that you don't need 30x soldier tokens. If you know they are all 1/1s or whatever, just use 1 token and put a d10 on it with it rolled up to 30. When you go to attack, denote how many are attacking and how many are not by using smaller increments of die.

Some tokens will require different amounts. For example, if you cast an Avenger of Zendikar and got 5x 0/1 plant tokens and played a land, they are now 1/2s.

If Avenger then dies and you reanimate it and play another land, you'd probably now have your original 5x which are now 2/3s (second land drop) and now 6x 1/2s (6x from the first prior land drop, +1/+1 from the second land drop on this turn)

In cases like this, yes you'd need two plant tokens to denote which are the 2/3s and which are the 1/2s, but having two tokens with some dice is far better than 11 individual tokens, each with their own counters for P/T changes.

June 28, 2020 12:12 a.m. Edited.

Similar to what SynergyBuild said, if you have the ability to kill a player, you might potentially be able to get A LOT from it, like “hey, if I get rid of Steve, will you leave me, my 9 treasure tokens and my Revel in Riches alone for a turn?” You never know...

also, STACK YOUR LANDS. It gives SUCH a look of clarity to the board, and clears up a ton of space as well. I know a few people who cover half the board with all their lands—-it’s not a good look.

June 28, 2020 12:23 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #5

I've met players who hate when lands are stacked, but my God does it make a difference.

And for Christ's sake, don't be afraid to ask how something was paid for. If your opponent is casting or activating multiple things per turn, ask to see how their colors are divided up. You'd be surprised how often players accidentally underpay.

During playtesting with my Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God deck, I accidentally cast him using a Mind Stone, resulting in and had to back pedal when I realized the mistake.

Things happen, but if you are ever unsure don't be afraid to ask to make sure they actually had all colors appropriately required.

June 28, 2020 12:45 a.m. Edited.

griffstick says... #6

Tip #1 don't me a dick

Tip #2 to play large games and various edh games. I nice change up here and there can change the way people play like a 5 player game with added rules. Or a 6 player 2 headed giant 3 way brawl

June 28, 2020 12:46 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #7

griffstick, allow me to introduce you to Archenemy ;)

Favorite recognized format in the game. God I love that. We need newer Scheme decks. But Archenemy with EDH decks is... ugh, it's a thing of beauty. (Favorite format in general is Oathbreaker, but that's not officially recognized... yet)

June 28, 2020 12:49 a.m.

griffstick says... #8

Yea oathbreaker is great. The problem I had with oathbreaker is the higher rate at witch you see cards in your deck. The randomness isn't high enough to keep me entertained. 99 cards vs 58 cards. I got board of my oathbreaker decks pretty quickly. But my Cmdr deck I'm still loving even after 6 or 7 yrs now. I still play the same decks.

June 28, 2020 1:06 p.m.

DuTogira says... #9

Honestly... my big hack is this:
Play on Cockatrice.
It's 100% free, your board state is managed online so space is no issue, and it makes getting together to play way easier. It's been so valuable to me during quarantine.

June 28, 2020 1:28 p.m.

Hey woah I hear that Tappedout.net is free as well, and your boardstate is managed online too... maybe you should check it out!

June 28, 2020 1:43 p.m.

Adryen says... #11

Or play with your real cards with friends on spelltable.

Use proxies! Don't think you can't test out that super high power deck you want to play because you can't spend 2k on a timetwister. Proxy it, most won't care and super high power feels like a different game. It's worth giving a try as not only can it be a refreshing new playstyle but your actual play skill will improve.

June 28, 2020 2:24 p.m.

Metachemist says... #12

Learn to apologize and admit when you were wrong. This includes apologizing to the whole table in addition to anyone in specific you snapped at. We all get tilted at some point, it's part of the experience even the most baked out stoner and calmest hearted person can finally lose patience, but learning how to recover from that gracefully and with tact is important.

On a related note, learn when to walk away. Sometimes even with good friends and tuned decks you will have bad beats and feels bad plays. Some nights it's just best to pack it up after a game or two and try again another time.

Make friends with a Judge(s), learn the rules that affect your deck in particular, and learn to get good at Googling rules clarifications, rulings, and/or Oracle text. This isn't the mid 90s where as much of the game was trying to fairly arbitrate the rules as it was actually playing the cards you did understand.

June 28, 2020 2:48 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #13

Good rule of thumb, don't pick on the weakest opponent. It's often tempting to take out someone ASAP who is manascrewed because they are open targets, but it is demoralizing for that player and likely to leave a negative impression of the game, especially if they are new players. They could have one of the strongest decks at the table, but if they aren't a threat, they don't deserve the hate.

Don't let prior games judge your current decisions. If your opponent Steve absolutely wrecked your shit last game, don't use that as justification to be an absolute asshole to him this game - especially when different decks are involved. He may have had a reason to go after you, or that deck he played may have mandated he be incredibly aggressive.

And don't feel like conceding is poor sportsmanship, either. We all have lives outside of MTG and we all can see when a game is going horrifically unfavorably and you've lost interest. If you're sitting down at a game and you've done nothing for the past three, four or five turns and can't interact with anything, I feel it is completely appropriate to concede. It doesn't mean the game is "over", it means you're the first to bow out.

If a player does concede, don't become an asshole over it, either. If it's a 4-player pod and 1 player leaves, it is still a 3-player pod. Grow up, understand that things happen and keep playing the game.

And for God's fucking sake, don't start screaming at someone because their deck isn't built the way "you" would build it. I see this so God damn often in person where grown ass adults will literally yell at, cuss at and scream at teenagers because their deck doesn't have a $200 card in it, or because they don't have a specific combo, or because their "Commander is trash". If that's your mentality, I'm sorry but fuck you.

Ugh, I'm getting angry again. Sorry. It's just, I've seen it on more than a handful of occasions and it bothers me so much that I almost quit MTG entirely. I hope it is only an isolated incident in my area, but I suspect it is not, considering I see how the community at large acts online. Not particularly on here, but on other sites.

Just... be nice. It's literally just a game. Just be nice, people...

June 28, 2020 3:05 p.m.

SpammyV says... #14

If you are going to use proxies, disclose every card you're proxying and why. "I've got a playset of Verdant Catacombs in my foil Jund deck I don't want to move" is one thing, and "I've proxied ABUR duals, every fetch, every piece of fast mana, and cheap tutors" is another.

My real tips:

Don't make people wait on you to shuffle. Getting a land is usually fine as you know what you're looking for, but don't have to search your library (and spend time hemming and hawing about what to get), and then make everyone wait for you to shuffle as whatever you've gotten makes you draw cards or mill or do anything that requires a randomized library.

Related to the above: Think twice about playing decks that make you take forever to mechanically resolve your turn. I go back to an artifacts deck I played against where turns would take forever as everything they did caused a chain reaction of drawing, scrying, making tokens, sacrificing tokens, drawing, searching their deck, shuffling, manipulating +1/+1 counters... And they still would not win the game that turn. It causes me to tune out of a game and lose interest in favor of watching Bob Ross paint on my phone.

Stack your lands by colors they produce and leave utility lands out to the side. Don't hide your Maze of Ith beneath five basic Forests.

Buy a package of playing-card sized blank dry erase cards from an online retailer or a teacher supply store and some fine-point dry erase markers. Never be without a token, emblem, commander damage tracker, or anything else you can come up with.

TypicalTimmy: My college buddy group actually had a ritual for carrying grudges between games. Someone just kept the little salt packets from a restaurant and would set them on the middle of the table. You'd claim the salt for minor grudges and then whenever you went out of you way to get back at someone in that game or the next one you'd put the salt back as you "resolved the salt." So i.e. I'd get salty that you Act of Treasoned my Solemn to kill my Planeswalker so I take the salt. Next game I attack you first with no provocation and put the salt back.

June 28, 2020 3:22 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #15

SpammyV, I actually kind of like that idea. Kind of feels like there could be a loss of balance, though. For example, killing a Planeswalker may not warrant a full-scale attack for 30+ damage, you know? Seems like that'd cause the issue where the salt is just passed back and forth between the two players, continuing to increase the levels of aggressiveness until a fight breaks out.

At least, going from my personal experience, that's what it would result in.

To clarify, I live in a college city. We have 3x LGS, and in two of them players act especially toxic toward each other. In one of those two, 40+ year old adults scream at teenagers and the store owners and staff seem perfectly fine with it happening. The other two, the game tables are in the basements where the staff does not see or hear the fighting.

June 28, 2020 3:27 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #16

When making deals, follow a few simple rules:

One: Always follow through on your deal, even if following through on the deal might lose you the game. Deals are only useful so long as people trust that you will keep your word. As soon as you violate this trust, you will never get it back. Even if breaking your word causes you to win one game, that win is not ever going to be worth permanently losing your ability to make deals with any group containing those players again.

Two: When making deals, there are two ways they can be interpreted: The strict letter of the deal or the spirit of the deal. For example, if you make a deal not to attack someone, the strict letter might allow you to cast a burn spell against that player; the spirit might not.

Know your playgroup--with some playgroups, they'll put a disproportionate emphasis on the "spirit" and might get angry if you are a literalist. In such a case, either adjust to interpret the deal to match how others in the group do; or make it very clear that you are a textualist so there are no surprises. Likewise, if you are a "spirit of the deal" type of player, be aware that of exact language of the deal, so you are not surprised down the road when someone uses a literal interpretation.

Three: Know your bargaining power and adjust accordingly. There are three major factors to consider when weighing how "valuable" you are in the deal-making process: (1) Your actual power--what you are capable to do with the resources you have available; (2) your perceived power--what others believe you are capable of doing, but might not be 100% certain of due to hidden zones; and (3) your relative perceived power--how powerful you appear relative to everyone else on the board.

Adjust your dealmaking based on these factors; adjust how you make deals to fit with how big of a threat others view you to be, while always taking into account how threatening you actually are.

June 28, 2020 3:38 p.m.

Please, if you’re playing casual, keep the land destruction to a minimum. It’s a feel bad if you’re mana screwed, but it’s even worse if you HAD enough land, but they were blown up. (Obviously get rid of a singular Maze of Ith if it’s completely messing you up, but don’t just get destroy a player’s only green source just to cripple them)

June 28, 2020 3:56 p.m.

golgarigirl says... #18

I have some cards with blank white labels on in some old junk sleeves. I write on them with dry erase markers. This is especially helpful because I play a deck that likes copying creatures...so now I always know that my token is exactly a Thragtusk, even if the original is gone, etc. You can even write additional notes, and just wipe it off with a towel or napkin when done. I know they make Copy tokens now, but I've been doing this since way before...and the white label background makes it way more readable for everyone.

Bonus points if you find yourself bored and doodle a picture of a Thragtusk on your blank Thragtusk token!


Also playgroup rule involving proxies: If you are playtesting (try before you buy), or are having trouble finding a card, or even are saving up, go ahead. But you have to intend to purchase the card if it works for the deck. I had a friend in the group who proxied a Stoneforge Mystic for years, and we finally had to forbid it until he got the card.

June 28, 2020 7:16 p.m. Edited.

griffstick says... #19

I'm that guy who rides to the store on a jap bike with a backpack full of edh decks. So I sleeve all my decks in KMC perfect fits only. This allows me to fit a whole edh deck in one of those small standard size ultra pro deck box. And by doing so I can bring lots of decks with me where ever I go

June 28, 2020 7:37 p.m.

Make sure to plan your turn before your turn. Sure you don't have all the information before you draw, but you know most of what you can do. Sometimes I plan 2-3 turns ahead with my current information and adjust as pieces come to hand.

June 28, 2020 11:47 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #21

I don't think I've seen this one yet, and this isn't really a "trick" but please, please, pleeeeease...

  • If you have a drink, set the drink on the floor next to your chair. Nobody wants a soggy Underground Sea :(
June 28, 2020 11:50 p.m.

Ooh one more from me; Please don’t ask “is it my turn?” Unless the player previous has obviously forgotten to pass. It’s SO annoying when I’m just deciding on a target for my Banishing Light, during my FIRST MAIN PHASE, and the next player is all like “hey are you done?” Please and thank you

June 29, 2020 2:06 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #23

Omniscience_is_life, YEEEES

I knew one guy that would signal his turn was over by knocking on the table, similarly to how poker players.

If anyone seemed like they knocked the table and he was next in turn order, he'd immediately start untapping and draw a card. It could be as simple as tapping a card on the table, deciding if that was the land you wanted to play that turn, rapping your finger on a die to think if you want to activate an ability or something, or even just strumming your fingers as you are scanning over the boardstate.

Really annoying when you're still in your first main phase and this asshole is drawing the top card of his deck. Then when you tell him to put it back and shuffle his library since he unfairly has knowledge of his next card, he blows up at you.

Dude. Fucking chill your ass out and wait your turn. Jesus.

June 29, 2020 2:19 a.m.

I always bring a slower-affect-all-players deck, like my orzhov watermark deck (I only used spells that have the watermark), for 5+ player games. If you accidentally end up in a giant slow game, where everyone has paralyzed everyone else, your deck will help move things along. It'd get steamrolled in a 1v1 game, but in that environment it’s devastating (and saves you from a two-hour game).

June 29, 2020 11:30 a.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #25

Know what you're going to Tute for in different situations. Sit down with the deck, draw a few sample hands and fishbowl around for 15-20 minutes before taking your deck to locals.

Nobody wants to sit around staring into each other's eyes while you durdle around off a Diabolic Tutor that you cast ten minutes ago. And, no we don't care that "It's a new deck I'm trying out."

Most of us are on the clock and only have a coupla hours to EDH & Chill before responsibilities kick in and we have to get back on the grind.

June 30, 2020 7:36 a.m.

SpammyV says... #26

You can put a note on your phone for tutor targets, too. You're playing a Commander game, not on camera at a GP, you're allowed to check your phone. When I had a Chord of Calling deck with a lot of toolbox/combo pieces I had a list on my phone of what was at what CMC so I also wouldn't run into the situation of "Chord, X=4... uh I mean 5, forgot the CMC of this creature."

June 30, 2020 10:01 p.m.

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