Tutoring a new edh player

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Dec. 17, 2020, 10:36 a.m. by TheDarkPlague

Hey guys, So recently there’s this new guy who showed up at our lgs and long story short he tried the game with us, he liked it and now he joined our play groups with a precon. He asked me for help to build his first brew which was going fine until yesterday. He called me because his wife tried the game too and the guy asked me to build him a deck that would do well in both multiplayer and 1v1 edh.

I never played 1v1 edh so I have no clue what deck could be good in both environments. I’ve been a multiplayer politic/pillowfort player for awhile now but that’s it. Is there someone who could suggest themes or tribe that could be good in both scenarios?

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • A tribe or theme that could do well in both 1v1 and multiplayer edh.

  • Something not to expensive (I’ll provide him the fetch and shocks so don’t count them in the price of the deck). Try to keep the 40$ Eldrazi or the blightsteel colossus out please.

  • Our playgroup isn’t cEDH but we don’t play casual decks either (so nothing super casual, there’s a difference between casual and budget).

His precon was the arcane wizardry if that can help.

Thanks guys.

Reznorboy says... #2

Though it's very tempting to just say Wanderwine Prophets.dek because of Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, I'm sure they'd probably enjoy anything but that.

I know that Mairsil, the Pretender can be very enjoyable and potent. (From the same precon).

There are many lists for him on this site, all I can say is that if you can give Mairsil haste consistently, he can be very interesting.

December 17, 2020 10:57 a.m.

RiotRunner789 says... #3

I think a voltron strategy would be a good choice. It's stronger in 1v1 but still viable in multiplayer.

Possibly the new Jared or any of the new boros commanders.

Mill I think will also hold up well. There are a few good mill cards that only effect one opponent that are still worth it in multi. Plus, mill can be stronger in 1v1 because you need less graveyard hate.

I'd start by looking at any of the dimir (blue/black) choices.

December 17, 2020 11:37 a.m.

TheDarkPlague says... #4

Reznorboy, yeah Wanderwine Prophets is out. I think it would be a little bit to much for him to understand right now. Mairsil, the Pretender is interesting, how would you build it ?

December 17, 2020 12:26 p.m.

griffstick says... #5


December 17, 2020 12:35 p.m.

Massacar says... #6

Goblin tribal does pretty well in both and it relatively inexpensive to get something decent going. (I'm not just saying Krenko either, Wort, Boggart Auntie is my goblin commander)

If you're thinking voltron you have lots of options there too for a good starting point.

December 17, 2020 1:45 p.m.

RambIe says... #7

for new players i always suggest them to just run the pre con with out changes until they learn to win with it

too often players are just focused on power level of cards
to truly dominate edh it takes
10% Luck
20% Deck
30% Interaction
40% Timing
Most of those lessons can be learned with a precon.

December 17, 2020 2:17 p.m.

Reznorboy says... #8

If you do decide to build Mairsil, the Pretender, basically what you do is you make half your deck cards that have an activated ability, then lands and little bit of other whatever.

Some really good cards for Mairsil with activated abilities are:

Blighted Bat (Gives haste)

Cinderhaze Wretch (Discard+Untap)

Doom Whisperer (Mills, good for setting up Mairsil)

Horseshoe Crab (Untaps)

Kozilek, the Great Distortion (Counters stuff)

Mirror-Mad Phantasm (Not sure about ruling, but dumps portion of library in grave)

Morphling (Untap+Shroud)

Quicksilver Elemental (Targeting Mairsil, makes it so he can do his abilities any number of times per turn, it's gnarly)

Pendant of Prosperity (Again, weird rulings, but I believe it gives you crazy value because you control Mairsil aka Pendant and your its owner.)

Gilded Lotus (Should hopefully be obvious)

December 17, 2020 2:49 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #9

Elves or wizards. Both scale well as a player advances and are relatively inexpensive outside of a few outlier finishers.

December 17, 2020 3:46 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #10

DON'T do Mairsil. To be able to pilot a well-built list you need deep understanding of the stack and complicated loops. Whatever you do, please do not do Mairsil, you will either end up with a mediocre list or melt his brains.

I'd recommend Wizards, especially with Naru Meha, Master Wizard, Naban, Dean of Iteration, Dualcaster Mage. Add Heat Shimmer, Twinflame for a win con. Those are pretty cool and that combo is real simple.

December 17, 2020 4:29 p.m.

VampDemigod says... #11

I'd actually suggest that they get the set precons that have been coming out! They're pretty well balanced against each other, especially the Zendikar Rising ones. They'll do fine for a starting deck too, they can win games! And they're only $50!

I'm not trying to diss your building skills. If you can make something better, go for it! The reason I suggest these precons is because they're pretty balanced against each other, so you don't run the risk of making one person's deck more powerful. The bonus deck boxes, life counters, and reminder cards/foldables will be pretty useful if they're just getting into the game (also you get tokens for your cards!).

The precons aren't my favorite WotC product, but they're close, TBH. I will warn, the Commander Legends precons aren't quite as balanced against each other.

Actually here's a suggestion (I'm going to assume you're paying for everything, obviously that might not be true):

-Start by getting them some precons so they can get used to the format

-Once they understand how the format works, show them some commanders, and ask them if anything catches their eyes. Then you can let your inner deckbuilder run wild, and you can build them two decks that they can either play against each other or play against others! Making them decks that they have input on will make the decks so much better for them! I did something like this for my friends, and they still love the decks, because they got to choose what their deck was like!

If they both already play the game, just not the format, I'd 100% encourage you to skip to step 2, but for newer players, precons are more likely to make sense for them. Besides, if they have two custom decks and two precon decks, they can invite friends who are new to the format (or even the game) over for a game of EDH.

Feel free to ignore my advice, I just wanted to add my 2 cents.

December 17, 2020 5:37 p.m.

Peligrad says... #12

Personally, I think voltron strategies are some of the most cost effective for a beginning budget player.

A commander like Skullbriar, the Walking Grave can be tuned to be competitive at any table and does especially well in duels.

A lot of his best cards like Evolutionary Escalation Feast on the Fallen Hydra's Growth Ordeal of Nylea Biogenic UpgradeSoul's Might Ring of Kalonia FireshriekerWinding Constrictor Corpsejack Menace and many others are cheap.

My deck is not budget, but you could replace the most expensive 30 cards with budget friendly alternatives and still have a deck that stomps most tables. https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/15-09-20-skullbriar-the-walking-grave/

December 17, 2020 5:47 p.m.

Unlife says... #13

Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign-being able to play things for free, plus having some of the best colors for removal and countermagic

Rhys the Exiled-elf tribal for a lot of good creatures, plenty of removal and ramp options, plus options for tutors

Borborygmos Enraged-pack this with plenty of ramp, plus surprises like Defense of the Heart, Snake Umbra and Grafted Exoskeleton, and he will wreck both large and 1v1 games

December 17, 2020 6:11 p.m.

I think VampDemigod and Ramble are right - it’s best to get those basics down with a tool that won’t have accidental deficiencies. To add, though, I would take into account some of the personal preferences and attitudes. Many have strong pre-existing preferences (such as “I like cute critters” or “demons are rad”) and getting “stuck” with a deck you don’t have your heart in can be pretty demoralizing. Some of the fresh-faced folks I’ve played with cannot bring themselves to sacrifice the majestic wolf they -just- brought into being. Losing life means you’re losing, so they don’t want to pay life ever. These are silly ideas to us, and they will overcome them eventually, but it seems best to not rush it... in my experience at least.

December 17, 2020 6:31 p.m.

VampDemigod says... #15

FormOverFunction make a GREAT point.

For context on why I love the point so much, when I got back into MTG, War of the Spark had just come out. My family has a tradition of giving as well as receiving on birthdays, so I bought a box of War of the Spark and invited some LGS friends over to draft that night. I ended up building a Selesnya deck and playing wolves. All was well. I let people grab cards they needed for decks, then we took turns taking rares, then uncommons...right down to lands and tokens (more fun than it sounds I swear). I realized right after we had divided them up that I had my Tolsimir and one of the 3 Arlinns. I spent $50 right then and there, to buy both of the other Arlinns, the one other Tolsimir and all the wolf tokens, including (I'm not joking) $10 for the ONE Voja token.

Do I regret spending $50? Yes. Was it dumb? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably.

And, to be clear, these were not alt art Arlinns. Just the normal printing. I still have them in a box somewhere.

December 17, 2020 8:59 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #16

I feel like I always say this when people ask for a budget commander, but Xenagos, God of Revels. It is vicious in 1v1 where there is no reason to not swing for 12+ (and that plus is a very large range) every single turn until they are dead. Xenagos also performs well in multiplayer because people try to politic you into not attacking them until they can find an answer to your giant angry beatstick.

December 18, 2020 10:34 a.m.

Peligrad says... #17


Absolutely agree. Magic is the most fun (in my experience) when playing YOUR deck. When you win piloting a deck that you brewed there is a lot more personal achievement and when your deck performs poorly you get the opportunity to tune it.

That said, being new to MTG and playing against seasoned veterans can be overwhelming. At the very least point a new player who is attempting to build his own brew to online resources like EDHREC and tappedout's playtest tool.

December 18, 2020 10:34 a.m.

TheDarkPlague says... #18

Gidgetimer you’re absolutely right. Ended up building him a Xenagos with a bunch of extra combat and a bit of infect.

December 18, 2020 7 p.m.

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