EDH can mean a lot of different things to a Magic player. Approaching it is understanding the game, in its fundamental sense. However in doing so you learn about its most complicated interactions. In my opinion this may be the pinnacle of the game. A multi-player format that welcomes new players as well as veterans. Within that though, there are so many things. You are able to play nearly anything, you have complete creative control; within the legal limitations. It sounds great, but being left with so many options is often overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you want to play the game? Are you wanting to set the tempo, or keep everyone in check? There are so many choices. Let’s attempt to address them.

A commander is a legendary creature you want to proud to represent. A card you will be able to sit down at any table with a face up card, and be ready to play the game. This seems simple, but there are a ton of options. Is your deck built around your commander? Are you just playing a legendary creature that lets you play colors you like? Is there an infinite combo with your general? Do you intend on attacking with it? The list is seemingly endless, but it is usually one of two things. A card you like, or a card you intend to win with.

This brings us to the next key ingredient to what makes EDH such a success, what makes magic fun to you? For some people simply participating, for others winning is everything, cool stuff is an option, other just look for excuses to play expensive cards. Is any really more valid than the other? Probably, but that’s a separate issue. The end goal is to be able to sit in a circle, square, triangle, or even a two point line, and participate, and potentially win, while enjoying your commander, and the pile they are commanding.

Once you have a commander picked out, what cards do you play? Good cards are everywhere. Should every deck play Sensei’s Divining Top? Sol Ring? Sword of ______ and ______ ? Lightning Greaves? Grim Monolith? Maze of Ith? That’s just getting started on colorless options, every color has what seems to be “must play” cards, like swords to plowshares, brainstorm, wood elves, zealous conscripts, demonic tutor, I know that all of these cards are not the same, and not on the same power level, but they all raise the same question; If you are playing their color, why not play them?

What you fill your deck with determines not only what you will play, but how your games will play out. If you want to consistently have creatures in play, you need to play creatures, or things that make them. If you want to play an infinite combo, you typically will want to play ways to find your combo. If you are playing a tribal deck, you want to play cards that are relevant to your tribe. Within this game there are thousands of options, some more valid than others, but options nonetheless. This is where you have the most creative control. This is where decide how your games will actually play out, if it isn’t in your deck, you won’t be able to use it when you sit down at a table.

Deciding on what you actually want to play sets the path for a lot of the rest of decisions for deck building. You want to be full to the brim with cards that are not only good, good with your commander, but also be relatively interactive. If you aren’t going to be able in interact with your opponent you had better be able to kill them first; that is probably the simplest truth in commander.

What's on your mind?