New to commander help

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on April 10, 2023, 2:54 p.m. by themainlineinc

Hello all,

I havent played since 10th edition. My co-worker has gotten me back into the game. I created an elf deck and all my other ideas are just Swarm/Tribal decks like rats, squirrel, Zombie, etc.

Can anyone give me ideas on different decks to build that don't rely on swarming only.

Tsukimi says... #2

While I don't like EDHRec for deckbuilding, it can give you a good idea of the different deck archetypes out there.

April 10, 2023 2:57 p.m.

After playing commander for a while now (and I started Magic way before “Commander” officially kicked off) I think a good, sort of, natural fault-line question for decks is “how important is the commander?” I’d recommend picking commanders that have a specific mechanic that looks fun (like Nekusar, the Mindrazer for example) and then look for cards that work well with it, or picking cards/mechanics that you like and then work your way backwards through the 99 cards back to what Commander you end up with at the top. I apologize because I can’t remember who it was that introduced me to the 99-strength deck concept, but I like that a lot. Those decks seem more resilient to me, usually. Some of the commanders are bananas though, so I wouldn’t want you to miss out on that fun either. Maybe try scrolling through a random set, jot down a few cool cards or commanders, and then roll those around in your mind for a while. With luck one of them will snowball. That’s sort of what I do, though I’m usually picking them initially because of the theme they fit in.

April 10, 2023 3:21 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #4

Commander is very dependent upon the playgroup and their likes/dislikes. For example you could build a deck revolving around executing combos, but if your playgroup doesn't like combo you aren't going to want to. The same goes for varying levels of control. Staying in the creature combat sector of deckbuilding, you can make big beaters or voltron instead of swarming decks. Would be good to know what you like playing and what your playgroup is permissive of.

April 10, 2023 3:26 p.m.

themainlineinc says... #5

Well, my current play group played by b/g elf deck that is here on and they do not want to play it again (I wont 4 games in a row with like 40+ tokens out each turn by turn 5/6). Its the only deck I have that isnt a precon (not that precons are bad, I just want to build something that is mine). Ive always like elf, Sliver, Zombie. But each kinda fall under swarm. I understand you can tweak it a little to be more control and less full on aggro, but i like aggro.

Back in the 60 card days (before Commander), I had a B/G deck build around Kokusho which was a mixed of control aggro. I also had a W/G tooth and nail/Rude awakening deck beatdown deck (mana ramp/fetch cards to get big dudes out faster, DarkSteel Colussus, Kodama of the north tree, etc.)

I have never been a big Red color person, dont know why. Let me know if this helps.

April 10, 2023 3:36 p.m.

legendofa says... #6

If you want to push out of your comfort zone, try a low-creature count deck. Defensive/prison enchantments, spellslinger, or Voltron/Battlecruiser are strategies that don't use a lot of creatures and can be built in different colors and power levels. Defensive/prison enchantments is more control, spellslinger is more combo, and Voltron/Battlecruiser is more aggro.

April 10, 2023 4:35 p.m.

GodzSoldier says... #7

Just choose anything you like, and build around it. Simple. Make it cheap and weak at first, them make it better over time. That's the amazing cycle of an EDH player

April 10, 2023 5:05 p.m.

I also had a W/G tooth and nail/Rude awakening deck beatdown deck (mana ramp/fetch cards to get big dudes out faster


I have never been a big Red color person, dont know why

plus the advice to leave your comfort zone...might I suggest Chiss-Goria, Forge Tyrant? It's powerful and explosive, and it churns through big threats very fast. It gives you a weird decision to lose out on important cards, so FOMO is your biggest enemy when playing Chiss. But it feels just great overall to deploy fatty after fatter after fatty. You can build it on a budget pretty easily, and if there occurs a need to power it down, you can simple build it as Golem tribal.

April 11, 2023 3 a.m.

Abaques says... #9

If your play group doesn't want to play your elf deck because you won 4 games in a row by turn 5/6 then I'd argue that power level, as opposed to strategy or theme is your bigger issue. Dial back your power level to be more in line with your playgroup and you'll all end up having more fun.

But building a new deck could also be fun and rewarding. It sounds like you enjoy tribal aspects and if you want to move away from a 'swarm' mentality, try using a tribe that doesn't really swarm and may have different strategies. Horrors with a mill plan for example.

April 11, 2023 2:31 p.m.

Phenax, God of Deception with walls and weird utility spells (like Triton Tactics and King Macar, the Gold-Cursed) can be fun; puts everyone on a clock of sorts but still lets them cast (most of) their spells and try to win.

April 11, 2023 11:25 p.m.

Gleeock says... #11

I have a bunch of non-swarm decks that are very fun. Strange that your meta can't adjust well to token swarms. As FormOverFunction notes, alot of it can run off how much reliance you plan on having on the commander.

I will 2nd that mill/horrors Captain N'ghathrod would still be in the 'tribal' zone, but plays variable every time.

My labor of love Birdlock is a nice combo of aggro, battlecruiser, & superfriends. It actually fits together better than you'd think, it is not a common Breena build, & it would still run a bunch of aggro, but more in a white-weenie/midrange capacity & not in a token-swarm capacity at all. It would have a bunch of room for you to tweak as you see fit. I just threw a bunch of vigilance in because I like rolling the pain-train without crackback concern, then when I start popping down walkers all those midrangeblocker/attackers/breena triggers can be really nice.

April 11, 2023 11:27 p.m.

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