Adherence to Archetype

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on July 19, 2021, 1:53 p.m. by Azeworai

Over my years of commander, I have grown a fondness of constructing selcouth legendary creatures and strange strategies. I have built Hakim as an aura-madness-graveyard value deck, Diaochan as mono-red control, and Halfdane as Esper stompy for ensamples.

Yet, these entail a further line of thinking, "When is an archetype extenuated beyond the point of cohesion?" My Halfdane list verges on a flash/control list just out of desperation for other substantiation to build a big Sturmgeist . My Hakim list opts for a discard theme more than auras, despite the commander's text box. The commanders define the game's end, but not its process.

These are "strange" decks, yet hold another plan within them to attain such a strategy. Thus is my query here, do the supporting principles and engine pieces of a deck define the archetype, or does the manner wherein the game is ended define the archetype?

Let me pose some examples, and you may take from them what you wish:

If I build a deck with Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig as my commander, but every other creature in the deck is an Elf, what archetype have I built?

If I build a Marwyn, the Nurturer deck, but every other creature in the deck has a random subtype, what archetype have I built?

July 19, 2021 2:21 p.m.

RambIe says... #3

if i understand your question correctly
what defines a decks archetype would be its over all performance (beginning, middle, and end)
from my understanding of your description these decks are hybrid archetype, in which two or more archetypes are combined. which is common in edh

July 19, 2021 2:27 p.m. Edited.

RambIe says... #4

take burn for example, prevalent and powerful in 60 card formats, but falls short in edh were 3 opponents each have 40 life
so in edh you will see hybrids agro-burn, mid-range tempo, control-combo. Most players would still just consider it a burn deck though.
not sure if any of this helps

July 19, 2021 2:53 p.m.

1empyrean says... #5

Archetypes are a construct of communication. If the deck doesn't fit inside the box, you either need a box of a better shape, a bigger box, or more boxes.

July 19, 2021 4:43 p.m.

RambIe says... #6

That's a really good point
Todate all the archetypes have been based of of 60 card formats, now that they are supporting edh there is a chance we may see new "boxes" that will work better with the format.

July 19, 2021 5:17 p.m.

ZendikariWol says... #7

Porque no los dos? Who's restricting a given deck to just one theme?

July 19, 2021 5:25 p.m.

Azeworai says... #8

ZendikariWol - This is more so a question of which theme eclipses the other. I used examples of decks with multiple archetypes within then, bearing curiosity as to separate player's measurement of this consideration.

July 19, 2021 6:05 p.m.

I like building decks based on entirely separate goals; specifically conceptual spaces (like “the ocean). This almost forces me to bring all sorts of different mechanics into the deck, and results in (somewhat) variable play styles and results. You’ll never completely escape the base mechanics, like “blue taps things more than red” but it’s still a lot more enjoyable for me to roll the dice on how my deck will function this time.

July 19, 2021 8:41 p.m.

LeaPlath says... #10

Jeez, someone swallowed a thesaurus.

But yeah 1empyrean. Archetypes are a way to communicate. The methods may vary but it broadstrokes helps you understand the game plan of a deck.

My Kamidor deck is still a graveyard based value engine midrange deck. However it does that through soulshift and spirits matter as opposed to other syngeristic engines.

July 20, 2021 4:24 a.m.

"Dad, can you tell me a taxonomy paradox?"


You could do the following: At tier 1, you have the general direction. I'll take my Moraug, Fury of Akoum as an example. At this tier, it is a landfall deck. At tier 2, it splits into extra combat, attack triggers and voltron. At tier 3, I have damage increasing effects, the importance of burst ramp and ways to bounce lands. I could easily continue this basically forever. The closer I look, the more information I get. But I should always ask myself: Which use do I get from the 5th oder 10th decimal from a number? I might get lost in the details, which results in too narrow of a focus.

July 20, 2021 4:36 a.m.

RambIe says... #12

i fell asleep thinking about this last night
i've come to the conclusion that archetypes just dont work with edh, starting with the base Aggro, Mid-Range, Control, Combo. no edh deck would be able to function if it was built around only one. Mid-Range & Control are both required if you wish to participate in the game. aggro and combo are required if you want to win.
some may argue that you do not need both aggro and combo, but i disagree aggro decks perform best when supported by a combo, and even the best combo decks can fall victim to sideways creatures. i don't think anyone would argue about mid-range and control being required, to date ive never seen a decent edh deck that did not ramp, draw cards, have some high cmc cards, and some sort of response to other players
so in conclusion i think when you say its a edh deck all 4 base archetypes are already included, regardless of any sub type flavor you chose to build around

July 20, 2021 9:28 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #13

It's not that they don't work, EDH decks just don't translate that well to the archetypes we have for 60 card 1v1 constructed. EDH is a lot more open, you can put a lot more creativity in your decks. I hear cEDH youtubers talk about their decks being proactive, reactive or combo decks, which I think is a much better set of archetypes than aggro/control/midrange.

To get to the original question, I think that the engines of your deck define the archetype. There's so many cards you can play in an EDH deck, the way they work together should categorize it. LeaPlath and seshiro_of_the_orochi made excellent points, by naming what your deck does, in as much detail as you're comfortable sharing, you communicate to the public what kind of deck you made, so people know what to expect playing against it, or how to suggest improvements on this site, etc. From Stompy Elf Mana Combo or Equipment Voltron to Steal-Your-Stuff Stax, the function of connecting your deck to an archetype, is letting people know how to play against it, what hands to keep for a fun game. What that means for 1v1 constructed is very different from what it means in Commander, that's why it's probably better to be more specific in your description, as a kind of Rule 0 oneliner. There's literally thousands of different decks that win with a Isochron Scepter / Dramatic Reversal combo, I personally think that's descriptively useless to call the "Archetype" of your deck.

July 20, 2021 10:27 a.m.

plakjekaas: Thanks for picking up on my point snd furthering it. I sometimes do lack the appropriate words to fully explain my thoughts.

I just remembered there's a video from the Command Zone where they explain the archetypes of commander. And there's one big topic regarding the importance of the commander for a deck. This can play an important part in categotizing a deck as it heavily impacts the kinds of cards you want to include. I can't remember all of their categories, but it shouöd be doable to find the vid (it should be something between 1.5 and 2 years old)

July 20, 2021 10:51 a.m.

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