Tips for New EDH Player

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Feb. 15, 2021, 8:01 p.m. by Hardhitta7

Hi, I’ve finally found some people to play Magic with in my small town thanks to FaceBook. I’ll be going from Modern to Commander. Gonna start playing with a Dad and his 14-15 year old kids once I get my deck built.

Anyone have advice? Gameplay or in general? I can talk Magic all day long but I have very bad social anxiety when it comes to other things. Plus I’ve never really played multiplayer. (And yes I will talk to my therapist about this, he also plays Magic lol)

Mcat1999 says... #2


1.) Never be afraid to ask questions. Not just about the rules of the game, but how actions were taken. Suppose your opponent casts a Cruel Ultimatium but they tapped all of their lands and one of their lands only produces . Ask then kindly how they paid for it or if they meant to do something else. If they are new to the game and bewildered by it, be nice and let it resolve. They can learn later. It's important for them to have fun, first. Even if you lose, you don't want to deter them and make them lose interest in the game.

2.) Always offer opponents to cut your deck. Builds trust and honesty in the group. On the same note, never demand to cut theirs. It is your job to be humble and present a trusting environment. The more you display positive emotions, the more they will in return.

3.) Never be afraid to pause the game and look information up online. For example, if a creature has protection from white, can you enchantment it with a white aura? No, you can not. Rather than argue, just pause the game and go online to find the answer to settle it rationally.

4.) After the game, take a moment and show off your deck. Ask to see theirs. It's a great way to exchange ideas, explain interactions and get to bond with the new group.

February 15, 2021 8:46 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #3

Awesome! Thank you for all the advice. I will keep all of that in mind!

February 15, 2021 9:11 p.m.

hejtmane says... #4

You just need to find out what kind of decks they play so you don't just pup stomp them to the ground by building a deck way to strong for the meta and if they have any reservations about certain deck types. Me I personally never care what type of deck people play even staxs. Yet not every play group is like that so the key is finding out that type of stuff.

I will also say a lot of commander players have multiple decks they may play in a night so don't be surprised if they change decks between games. I am pushing 20 decks and I will have another 2 built here in the next two months all at different power levels.

The main thing with multi player is trying to keep track of board states and don't feel bad about asking someone what a card does again it is easy to forget when you are navigating four boards yours and three others.

Being able to talk magic all day please use that to reduce your anxiety until you get use to your new environment. You can start off talking about your deck you built and what it does then you can ask some questions about their deck. Easiest way for you to slide into a game and keep your social anxiety low. Then once you start to shuffle it will be magic but with a different vibe then modern. That part is hard to explain until you play a game of commander.

Once you figure out what deck strategies you want to play reach out to the community we can help make suggestions that fit that play style and any info about the type of decks your new group is playing will help from building it way to strong.

February 15, 2021 9:23 p.m. Edited.

Hardhitta7 says... #5

Thank you for your advice!

I had a thread deciding what type of deck to build, they play mainly pre-cons. I’m gonna build an Edgar Markov deck most likely, I think I’m also gonna pick up one of the new Kaldheim pre-cons (the Jirina one) to take in case my Vampire deck ends up too powerful but I do wanna build one of my own decks because that’s my favorite part of Magic.

My play style is Izzet, I love playing spell heavy decks (I played Prowess and Delver in Modern) and I also like tribal decks like vamps, zombies, humans. I will play just about anything besides straight g/w or r/g.

The vamp deck I wanna build is on my page if you wanna check it out. The commander was suggested by another user. Would love to hear if you have any other suggestions for a commander deck.

February 15, 2021 9:33 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #6

Oh my friend, I have more.

5.) If someone is discouraged or having a bad time, don't pick on them. Not just verbally by making sideline comments, but actions as well. For example, if you have a ton of lands (mana flooded) and they are on turn 6 and only have 3 lands and are bogged down and discarding, don't make a joke like "man I wish I'd draw something other than lands."

This might seem amusing to the table, but the player who is severely behind will find that as a passive aggressive remark toward their own boardstate and will regress from the game. As for how actions go, if you see an opponent has been doing nothing because they have little or no interactions in the game, don't look at them as an "open target". It will cause them to want to scoop and end the game as it is no longer fun for them and they can no longer justify being in it.

TLDR - Go easy on players who are falling behind.

6.) If you are fortunate enough to win the game, during the next game, let the "loser" go first. Whomever lost first should be first in the next game. It gives them more opportunity to be in the game, provides quicker interactions and helps keep their spirits up. Whoever "won" the last game should be last in the turn order.

7.) If after several games, if someone seems to be having a particularly difficult time, ask to see their deck and offer suggestions. Do not just call it trash and tell them what they need to "fix" it. Their budget and resources may not allow for the cards you are recommending. Rather, ask them what their goal is and see if you can look for interactions within their deck that already exist. Show them how some cards can work together. For example, I literally - and I mean this actually - just learned yesterday that Rings of Brighthearth and Basalt Monolith produce . I have been playing these in my deck for weeks and had no idea! :O You'll almost always find something cool and interesting if you ask questions, watch videos and pay attention. Sometimes it takes the graces of someone much better or more experienced than yourself to show you.

On the field you have a Rings of Brighthearth and a Basalt Monolith . You also need means to produce two additional mana of any color(s). For our purposes, let's look at two Forests .

You are going to tap Basalt Monolith for . Next, tap your two Forests or .

Spend your to untap Basalt Monolith . Additionally, spend your to copy the untap ability, using Rings of Brighthearth .

The ordering on the stack does not matter, but realize that your stack now looks like this:

The first one resolves. Basalt Monolith is untapped.

Before the second one attempts to resolve (which it won't be able to and will be removed from the stack), you are going to tap Basalt Monolith again, adding .

Now your second activation may resolve, and Basalt Monolith resolves.

At this stage, you are not going to produce infinite mana. If you tap Basalt Monolith again to add an additional , you will only be producing in total. Three floating, three added.

You'd be spending to untap it, meaning you net . You are ahead by none, other than the floating from earlier.

Instead, you are going to tap to add your additional , giving you the total of .

Pay to untap, but also pay to copy it using Rings of Brighthearth .

Now you are back where you were just a few steps prior, but floating .

Each time you do this, you add one additional , meaning you can now produce .

8.) Some players may only have one or two decks. If their decks "aren't working" or "aren't powerful enough", offer to lend them yours so they can become inspired again and have fun.

9.) NEVER, under any circumstances, insult a new player. Do not tell them to get good, to buy better lands, to fix their base. Don't tell them their Commander is garbage. Be polite and nice.

10.) The biggest rule of all --- Just because you can win, doesn't mean you should win. You could have a Triumph of the Hordes in hand with 30 power on the board does not mean you should cast it. If your opponent is new to the game, hold that card back and let them have the time and experience to try and dig out of it. After the game, show them the card so they can see what it would have done.

It's better for your opponent to, after the game, say:


Rather then have them say during the game:

  • How the fuck am I supposed to compete against this stupid shit!?? >:(

Encouragement is key. Let them have a good experience. Even if it means you lose a few games in the process.

But if you do this, -- NEVER -- go "I totally would have won if I played this. I LET you win."

Don't be an asshole. Shuffle your deck, tucking Triumph of the Hordes into it, then pull the card out and go "Oh man if I had this in hand, I totally could have won."

The difference is your opponent perceiving that their win was legitimate versus realizing their win was coddled.

Trust me. It goes a very long ways when interacting with new players. Especially kids, since you said they are 14 and 15.

February 15, 2021 9:34 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #7

I was kinda worried Edgar might be too powerful because I heard it’s banned in 1v1.

February 15, 2021 9:34 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #8

Mcat1999 wow that’s a lot of advice, thanks a lot! To sum it up, don’t be an asshole! All of that sounds like great advice, I definitely don’t wanna make them feel bad, and I really don’t care about winning right now, I’m just happy that I’m going to get to play again!

February 15, 2021 9:39 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #9

Hardhitta7, Edgar Markov was banned in French EDH, which is 1v1 games. He was banned because his ability to create tokens while being 100% free from interactions while in the Command Zone is a run-away problem. You'd need a very specific deck to handle that sort of barrage; A deck comprised of mostly wraths to try and blow the boardstate up every single turn to stop the tokens from attacking you. His ability makes an unfair and unbalanced interaction in 1v1 games. Similarly to how Iona, Shield of Emeria is unfair against mono-colored decks.

February 15, 2021 9:45 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #10

Oh okay, so he should be okay in multiplayer?

February 15, 2021 9:59 p.m.

I play Edgar a lot in multiplayer, and he’s usually a pretty feast or famine sort of deck, depending on the matchups. Either it gets off the ground and rolls over everyone, or it crumbles to a well-timed board wipe and you pretty much never recover before somebody combos.

Here’s my list for reference.

I’d say for an aggro deck, which is usually weak in EDH, he can hold his own at most tables. Depends really on the power level of the others and if they know what to expect.

February 15, 2021 10:08 p.m.

griffstick says... #12

Tip #1 instant speed is always better.

Tip #2 simic is better.

Tip #3 build something fun.

February 15, 2021 10:37 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #13

Hmm, they mainly play pre-cons. I’ve came up with several different decks already that people said would probably be too powerful. I started with The Locust God , then Thalisse, Reverent Medium .

Right now I’m between Edgar and Jirina. They both seem like they would play pretty similar.

Your list looks nice! What I came up with is very similar but I decided against signets. Interesting that you cut Vampire Nocturnus . It just doesn’t pump consistently?

February 15, 2021 10:39 p.m.

Yeah. You can crunch the numbers and see it’s just not consistent enough. I also saw it underperform in practical scenarios which just confirmed the number crunch. Add in the color-rich cost and he had to go.

February 15, 2021 10:50 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #15

Do y’all think Adeliz, the Cinder Wind would be a good casual commander? I just remembered she existed and that would fit my play style exactly since I’ve always played prowess decks.

February 15, 2021 11:18 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #16

Oh definitely!! My buddy ran him and loved it! Nice budget spell sliver deck

February 16, 2021 12:05 a.m.

Mcat1999 says... #17

Oooh Adeliz is female? Never really thought to look closely at the artwork. my bad.

February 16, 2021 12:06 a.m.

I usually bring about a dozen decks, so I can read the table and sidle in accordingly. That took some doing, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have that many now, but it’s worth not overdoing it competitively (as was mentioned above). Talk to the players so you can see what they’re expecting or hoping for. That question alone will help show that you’re not just looking for new M:tG victims. ;p

February 16, 2021 12:16 a.m.

RambIe says... #19

hejtmane "You just need to find out what kind of decks they play so you don't just pup stomp them to the ground"
Hardhitta7 "I’m gonna build an Edgar Markov
RambIe "falls out of chair laughing"
thank you. that turned around a bad day for me

February 16, 2021 1:12 p.m.

RambIe says... #20

imo build and bring your best
you can always underplay an overpowered deck
but you cant overplay an underpowered :(

February 16, 2021 1:18 p.m.

hejtmane says... #21

Best card in Edgar Markov is easily Captivating Vampire fun Mardu commander

February 16, 2021 1:38 p.m.

RambIe says... #22

there not vampires but Zirda, the Dawnwaker & Eldrazi Displacer can get nasty in a edgar deck

February 16, 2021 3 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #23

This is what I came up with for Adeliz. It fits my play style and I don’t think it would be too powerful against pre-cons. Any thoughts?

Purple Reign

February 16, 2021 6:51 p.m.

hejtmane says... #24

Hardhitta7 overall I think you will be fine you are more optimized than they will be so you should perform really while but nothing that makes you think omg crazy. Two cards that could cause problems Mystical Tutor real easy to get an answer and the other Thousand-Year Storm just watch them vs the group. I think you are fine but those sometimes can give some precon decks fits. By the way very nice deck I love the build

February 16, 2021 9:02 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #25

hejtmane thank you, building decks is my favorite part of Magic. I tried to keep the power level down a bit, for example I have Wizard's Retort over Counterspell because Counterspell on Isochron Scepter I feel would suck all the fun out for the kids.

February 16, 2021 9:06 p.m.

legendofa says... #26

I'm going to put this thought out there. In the original post, you mention that you can talk Magic but have a hard time with anything else. Eventually, the conversation will move away from Magic. Do you have any other personal interests? Cooking, sports, music, comics?

If they start talking about something you don't know about, and it sounds interesting, say so. Alternatively, tell them about your interests. They might get involved, and if not, you always have Magic to fall back on. Above all, if you're not comfortable, let them know.

Of course, I'm not a therapist, or any sort of medical professional, so your therapist can help far more than I can. Good luck!

February 16, 2021 10:19 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #27

Yeah I have other interests, hip-hop, anime, basketball so I can talk about that as well if we share any of those interests. Thanks for the advice!

And yeah, luckily my therapist also plays Magic so he can help me out when I see him next!

February 16, 2021 11 p.m.

RambIe says... #28

Hardhitta7 if your anxiety gets to bad and your in public
Breath in counting to five
Breath out counting to five
Very important dont let your chest move.
When breathing in push your stomach out
When breathing out pull your stomach in
Focus on counting and on the stomach movement
Personal note: 5 years ago i suffered from an aneurism, 6 months after that i developed a severe panic disorder.(PTSD)
so i am able to relate to your anxiety and i promise you this technique works.
good luck and have fun!

February 17, 2021 11:25 a.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #29

Thank you for the advice! I’ve learned breathing techniques in therapy.

February 17, 2021 11:48 a.m.

wereotter says... #30

It reads as though you previously primarily played Modern?

It's good to know going into to building your deck that cards that are really good in Modern can lose a lot of their impact or strength in commander. Lightning Bolt comes to mind as a really good example of this. It's REALLY strong in 1v1 Magic with 20 life. But in multiplayer magic, it loses a lot of its impact, and especially in commander where a lot of creature threats will have more than 3 toughness. And there conversely are a lot of cards unplayable in Modern that are perfectly find in Commander, mostly because games go longer. Also look for any card that say "each opponent" as those scale incredibly well for the multiplayer nature of Commander.

Wrath effects can make all the difference between winning and losing. Starting with Edgar Markov, you have access to some of the best in the format with Blasphemous Act , Toxic Deluge , and all the myriad white wraths. But also don't neglect removal and wraths not just for creatures but for artifacts and enchantments. Vandalblast and Austere Command are both really good for these colors.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes! We all make misplays and sometimes blow up our own stuff in our face, killing ourselves. That's part of what makes the format fun. Also as was mentioned, don't be afraid to ask what a card does or how your opponent is doing things. Even experienced players will have to do this. You're playing with one of the largest pools of cards of any format in the game, and with the wide variety of decks, several cards become viable with certain commanders that might not see any play anywhere else. Even as someone who's been playing exclusively commander for 10 years now, I find I still have to stop my friends sometimes and ask them what that card they just played does. And on a related note, be prepared to let people know what some obscure card you're playing does.

Also to your earlier question about Adeliz, the Cinder Wind , she can be pretty tough, but you're also limiting your potential includes since she's not exactly prowess. She doesn't trigger of casts of artifacts or enchantments. I build a more casual prowess themed deck using Elsha of the Infinite I would recommend her over Adeliz both for giving you access to all the prowess colors and for her more direct interaction with the mechanic (letting you play cards from the top of your library is HUGE for how quickly prowess decks can burn out in this format)

February 17, 2021 3:43 p.m.

RambIe says... #31

Lol careful Lightning Bolt s value in commander is a massively debated topic
Non the less solid advise

February 17, 2021 4:01 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #32

wereotter thank you for the advice! Yeah Lightning Bolt might not be the best here, I just included it to have some removal that can go under Isochron Scepter , what would be a better alternative?

I definitely forgot Blasphemous Act , I’ll add that in.

I’ll check out Elsha, white is a good color to have for prowess cause you get Monastery Mentor . Soulfire Grand Master is cool as well.

February 17, 2021 4:26 p.m.

RambIe says... #33

February 17, 2021 4:44 p.m.

wereotter says... #34

Oh I didn't even look at the deck you had built, was just offering general advice for the colors, but I'll check it out and see if I can give any more specific advise!

Also Ramble I'll admit I use Lightning Bolt in certain decks... but it's by far nothing something I'd use in any red deck. Riku of Two Reflections or Torbran, Thane of Red Fell are obvious exceptions to the rule of places that Lightning Bolt is elevated to a point to be valuable. Though I'll also conceed that this can vary a LOT depending on your meta.

February 17, 2021 5:24 p.m.

jbgrv says... #35

I'd recommend you this video with quite nice resume of Commander/EDH Taboos - What Not to Do in a Multiplayer game.

February 17, 2021 6:23 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #36

jbgrv thank you I will watch that video tonight!

February 17, 2021 6:46 p.m.

hejtmane says... #37

Ramble I run lighting bolt in some of my decks and one of the guy was like who the fuck runs lighting bolt in commander. He proceeds to flash out Hullbreacher on a Wheel of Fortune so I lighting bolt it and says I do and by the way hullbreacher is dead. Yes this was a higher powered commander game. He lost that game by the way and next game someone plays Drannith Magistrate I bolt it and say lighting bolt for the win. Funny people try to knock lightning bolt in commander but most of your hatebaers die to lightning bolt.

Early Birds of paradise removal can slow down a deck that was counting on i and kept a greedy hand with little to no land.

People that say lightning bolt sucks in commander have never played against good hatebear decks it removes so many impactful low cost creatures in commander

February 17, 2021 8:41 p.m.

wereotter says... #38

hejtmane I never said it's bad. I said it looses a lot of its power when you move to a format where a lot of threats are unable to be answered by it, and where 3 damage isn't much considering the higher starting life total and multiplayer nature. That said, I run it in some of my own decks as well. But we could also say that in both situations you listed, the more typical staple Chaos Warp would have been equally effective in resolving the situation. Not only can it hit something with more than 3 toughness, but it can also take out enchantments or artifacts.

Obviously this all depends a lot on the meta you play in and the types of threats you run up against, as well as the commander you're playing. But also it's the rarity when you look at EDHrec stats that show only 5% of red decks run Bolt while 29% run Chaos Warp. More flexible removal options are always better in this format.

February 17, 2021 10:48 p.m.

Rzepkanut says... #39

If you are a seasoned modern player building decks from scratch and they are playing pre-constructed decks then there will be a power disparity most likely. That doesn't mean you can't build decks but be prepared to build new ones and/or completely rebuild your first try after you have your first game session. I've had to do that whenever I join a new play group. Different people have different opinions on things like power level, proxy cards, other house rules like soft ban lists, whatever. Chances are you will like having multiple decks anyways so maybe think about making them different power levels for different opponents. I like to have lots of options myself. If you find yourself becoming the archenemy every single week and constantly winning maybe change your approach because they might not be having as much fun and maybe they're just being polite and you can't tell they don't like it. That happened to me. Have fun!

February 18, 2021 10:50 a.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #40

Thank you for the advice! And yeah I’ve noticed that coming from Modern I have a habit of always picking the most efficient cards.

I think I’m going to buy the Adeliz deck I built and also pick up a precon so if the Adeliz deck is too much I can switch to a precon.

February 18, 2021 11 a.m.

hejtmane says... #41

wereotter that is mono red in a nut shell how many high efficient burn removal do we have at the upper end of damage not many and very few at instant speed I mean outside chaos warp if some drops a Worldspine Wurm or similar big creatures outside chaos warp what do you have at instant speed what 7 damage tops at sorcery you have a few 13 damage. There is a reason I run Fissure in my mono red deck. No knock on chaos warp but we need more than 1 card for instant speed interaction and lightning bolt hits way more than people realize for 1 mana.

February 18, 2021 2:04 p.m.

wereotter says... #42

Oh for sure, red doesn't have the best removal options in commander for creatures like it does in other formats... Scour from Existence is probably the only other real option for mono-red decks. I like Dark Temper as well, but for that you have to have access to a black permanent.

February 18, 2021 2:14 p.m.

RambIe says... #43

mono red burn is very different in edh compared to 60 card format
its more about tax's and multipliers in order for it to be consistently lethal against 3 players with 40+ life
think Manabarbs , Impact Tremors , Electrostatic Field & Torbran, Thane of Red Fell , Jaya, Venerated Firemage , Furnace of Rath
wereotter is correct about the normal mono red creature removal not being as effective in commander but thats why the multipliers are necessary

February 18, 2021 4:49 p.m.

RambIe says... #44

sigh~ facepalm....
i just now realized you already have a deck started
to make up for my stupidity ill share with you my favorite izzet combo

remove target player for $2.00 Show

February 18, 2021 5:13 p.m. Edited.

Hardhitta7 says... #45

Lol that’s a cool combo but I’m trying to stay away from combos for now. Gonna be playing against pre-cons.

February 18, 2021 5:50 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #46

I wanna cut an expensive card so I can also buy a pre-con. Should I cut Snapcaster Mage , Mystical Tutor , or Fierce Guardianship ?

Here’s the deck if you haven’t seen it: Purple Reign (Adeliz)

February 18, 2021 5:54 p.m.

RambIe says... #47

my answer may not be the best answer for you
but i have long since given up 60 card formats and only play edh
so as an edh player i keep 1 copy of every card in my build books regardless if i think i will ever use them or not
so if i was looking to cash in cards to buy a pre-con id pull from my duplicates and would never surrender a final copy
so in short any or all of those cards that you have more then 1 copy of i would cash in

February 18, 2021 6:03 p.m.

Hardhitta7 says... #48

I’m not selling cards, I haven’t actually bought a deck yet. I just have a budget and wanted to cut one of those from the list to stay within budget.

But, I just found the Timeless Wisdom Ikoria pre-con which looks fun and also comes with Fierce Guardianship , so I can just buy it and not have to cut anything from the Adeliz deck. I can just switch it out when I wanna play with the other deck.

I played a temur Drake Haven deck when it was in standard so I think I will like that deck. Plus it comes with The Locust God which I want to build in the future.

February 18, 2021 6:11 p.m.

RambIe says... #49

imo pre con is a fantastic way to enter edh
also as a standard/modern player moving to edh after you toyed around with the precon and your actually ready to build your first deck
instead of grabbing a build list, or going straight to hardcore, take some time and think about the modern/standard decks that you loved the most but cant play anymore because they fell out of rotation.
then try to build an edh deck around that. because that's were the real passion of edh is found.

February 18, 2021 6:21 p.m.

wereotter says... #50

I agree about the precon being a good way to get started... just I would maybe take a look at some reviews of the decks you're thinking about buying. Some were really good, and actually decently powerful right out of the box, and some.... well they were really bad.

February 18, 2021 6:54 p.m.

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