Best commanders to introduce new players to the format!

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on July 24, 2021, 11:33 a.m. by golgarigirl

Hello lovely people!

Inspired by the Jake and Joel are Magic short yesterday, I wanted to get some ideas! The question is: What are the best decks/commanders to play against new players to teach new players coming into the format?

I can't say I agree with Jake and Joel, but I get the idea of a group hug-esque commander to help a new player see their whole deck. I think this could cause decision paralysis, and only really accelerates experienced players.

I personally play against new players with a barely (and budget) modified Arahbo, Roar of the World or a super budget Alesha, Who Smiles at Death. But even those decks can be a bit complex and explosive at times.

What are your thoughts and suggestions?

TriusMalarky says... #2

Nikya of the Old Ways

The most complicated part is "double"

July 24, 2021 12:35 p.m.

Ayula, Queen Among Bears

Play a bear. Make another bigger. Attack with multiple bears. Incredible.

July 24, 2021 12:45 p.m.

legendofa says... #4

Usual disclaimer: I'm not an EDH expert and basically only play to have fun and mess with the match.

I haven't watched the short before writing this, so I'm going to assume that the new people are generally new to Magic as a whole. For this, I don't think the pre-built decks are the best tool, since they usually have some unique and pretty weird cards. I would start with a very simple, streamlined deck. Pull cards from core sets, use mechanics that have a lot of support, and don't try to be too tricky. Possible commanders could be Isperia, Supreme Judge , Harald, King of Skemfar , or Maja, Bretagard Protector . Explain the basic rules and vocabulary of the game and format, and have someone outside the game available to answer questions and offer tips during a match.

If the players know the game and are trying a new format, then you can get a bit broader. What strategies or archetypes do they like? Do they want to play to a theme? At this point, there's a legendary creature for just about anything a color can reasonably do. Explain how color identity works and what commander damage means, and be ready to offer deck and card suggestions. Show them any pre-built decks they might be able to buy or borrow and see if any of those get their attention.

July 24, 2021 12:53 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #5

If they are new to magic I'd start with the 60 card format. I think there are still some form of pre-cons for that?

If they understand the basics of the game and can go through a game without any or at least not many basic questions. Things like the order of phases and how evergreen abilities work (outside of maybe protection or something). Then step into commander, I'd start with mono-color or 2 color decks. Pre-cons if available.

I think the potential commanders that could be used are pretty wide so I think instead I'd avoid certain themes in the decks. Cards which stop people from playing, land destruction, high amounts of interaction are all things I'd avoid. Ye ole battle cruiser might be a good way to take things.

Not very specific I suppose but I think anyone could use this to bring someone into the game.

July 24, 2021 1:51 p.m.

I have Tromokratis and Brion Stoutarm decks which I usually play against more inexperienced players. They’re not bad at all.

I also have a Xenagos, God of Revels basic big boi bashing which works too.

July 24, 2021 2:25 p.m.

Scytec says... #7

I have a few duel decks that i use to teach new players the base concepts of the game such as phases, basic interaction, and to get a baseline for sequencing. Generally after one session of play they have the base concepts down and we can shift into commander, (the greatest format, fight me) which is generally the format i recommend for ample reasons. Availability of the pre-constructed decks, availability of play in LGSs and in home pods, playsets being unecessary so any card you pull is potentially useful, overall enjoyment of play due to the group dynamic, and tons of other reasons. Playing a few 60 card games is a good idea to teach phases and the like in my opinion though. I've taught...maybe 10-12 people at this point this way including my 8 year old son. It is a fairly quick process assuming the person you are teaching wants to learn and has a modicum of intelligence. Haha. This way they have played a number of decks and you can ask what really spoke to them if anything did and move on from there. Normally to Mayael Stompy or voltron deck i have laying around. From my experience it takes a minute for people to develop interest in combo play. Haha

July 24, 2021 2:34 p.m.

griffstick says... #8

I dont think it matters much. But just keep it fun. Queen Marchesa or Selvala, Explorer Returned Not something like Talrand, Sky Summoner

July 25, 2021 12:10 a.m. Edited.

DuTogira says... #9

For new players:
Sorcery speed
Big creatures as finishers
Lots of reminder text
Monocolored (let multicolor be the first thing they grow into)

July 25, 2021 4:03 p.m.

Scytec says... #10

It occurs to me that I answered a different question than the one you posed. I apologize. haha. I personally normally start people with Mayael the Anima or any of the pre-constructed decks they show interest in that I own. I also made my son a Ruric Thar, the Unbowed deck that is amusing for him because it makes people pay for playing "those complicated cards" as he likes to put it. :p

July 25, 2021 6:33 p.m.

enpc says... #11

I think DuTogira is pretty spot on in their assessment. I think that potentially a simple dual colour commander might be ok, but that's dealer's choice.

I would also add though, for new players you're better off giving them card draw over tutors. That goes for the commanders too. Tutors require you to know what you're looking for (and yes, this includes cards like Mayael and Harald - even restricted tutors). Card draw on the other hand is simple while still driving home the concept that card advantage is important.

One or two tutors (as specific tutor spells) is ok but deck tutoring is actually one of the more complicated elements of the game and should be eased into.

July 26, 2021 3:14 p.m.

Abaques says... #12

I think there are two questions:

  1. What commanders are good for a new player to play themselves?

  2. What commanders are good to play against new players?

To answer the first question I think you want straightforward decks that are easy to play. There needs to be some decision making for the new player though. A lot of the fun is in figuring out the right play to make and taking that away from new players may make them bounce off the game. But care needs to be taken to make sure the decision making doesn't rely on in depth knowledge of the deck or the other decks in the pod. I think having solid card draw is also very important. You don't want a new player to run out of cards. So maybe an enchantress like Sythis, Harvest's Hand .

For the second question I think the most important things are what not to do. Don't play combo or stax against a new player. Group hug isn't the worst idea but I think voltron or battlecruiser are probably two good choices. It might be a good idea to play a lower or mid-powered graveyard deck so they'd get a chance to see that the graveyard is your friend.

July 26, 2021 3:57 p.m.

Guerric says... #13

I run my Trynn and Silvar deck. Its deliberately straightforward aggro, I'm not in colors where counterspells are a thing, and I deliberately run no infinite combos even though the deck would be stronger if I did. I have protection for my board and mass recursion so the deck is quite strong and resilient, but its not tough on threat assessment and there is nothing unexpected.

July 26, 2021 11:30 p.m.

I usually give them my Omnath, Locus of Rage deck. It's pretty simple - play lands, play Omnath, play lands, win. But there are also more complex decisions they can make as they start to get a grasp on how the game is played. My Neheb, the Eternal deck is a step above in complexity, but the basic strategy is still easy to grasp - hit things, get mana, hit things harder; that's normally what I play against newer players (since it's also a deck that I can "go easy" on them with, by just... not hitting as hard as possible every time). Then, once they've seen it in action a few times, it's pretty easy to be a logical "next step" kind of deck for them to pilot.

Then I throw them in the deep end with my tutorless Breya, Etherium Shaper eggs deck.

July 28, 2021 3:20 p.m.

Unknowncrash says... #15

Recently built a Karametra, God of Harvests , man I can say, that it is crazy rampy and easy to built around with. Add super cheap creatures and super big smashers and you'll be good to go (ofc with some removal)

My own first deck is my Phenax deck, so in a way, the 'perfect' EDH deck varies from different people. But if you want to start em off with something cheap, go for pauper EDH? The power level should be balanced and it isn't costly.

Commander legend's uncommon partners as commanders are cool too. Pair Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and some other color and you'll generally already have good ramp.

If that doesn't work, go mono color (I recommend U or G) since both can deal with card draw/ramp better. As a beginner theu probably just wanna win by swinging big bois and not do crazy combos that has tons of interactions.

If lazy, just go pick a commander deck precon, can't go wrong with those and they have great value.

August 13, 2021 8:08 a.m.

Gisa and Geralf

Relatively cheap, easy to get a ton of support for, and you can go super casual or relatively competitive and have fun! It's also my personal favorite commander, and I feel like zombies need more love.

August 19, 2021 10:49 a.m.

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