Courtesy Wizards of the Coast, Art by Mark Zug

With the holidays going on, I should have ample opportunity to play some Commander, and not just with my family. Let’s take a quick look at where my decks are, and what the future has in store.

[mtg_card]Sharuum[/mtg_card] is a deck I don’t break out often against the family. My brother-in-law also plays Sharuum and has fallen into a similar pattern. I think it’s because my sister has a passionate hatred for blue decks in general, and control decks in particular.

This is why I will be refraining from playing my [mtg_card]Arcanis[/mtg_card] deck unless we’re doing Emperor, that neat mono-color variant for five players or I’m on her team for something. With its wizards, control methods and other nasty surprises, it may be best if it’s only seen rarely at the family gaming table.

Now [mtg_card]Karrthus[/mtg_card], he’s a commander unconcerned with control and counterspells. No blue whatsoever in his deck. The goal there is simply to pump out the strongest, nastiest and most numerous dragons as quickly as possible. He’s somewhat more friendly for the family gaming environment. For the most part.

[mtg_card]Sedris[/mtg_card] may need more tweaking and refinement. The combination of shambling undead hordes, spectres with nasty discard effects and some nasty removal methods is effective, but it could use a trim and a few methods for speeding things up. I simply need to play it more.

[mtg_card]Ghave[/mtg_card] is another commander who may need to warm the bench a bit unless there are particular circumstances. His saproling shenanigans have gotten me in hot water. While it’s good to have a commander that is notoriously hard to kill who spreads that longevity to the deck, it does make for some longer games as you explain the order in which you’re dispensing with whatever your opponent just threw at you. Not exactly the sort of gameplay the family’s into.

The latest addition to my elite squad of commanders is actually [mtg_card]Zedruu[/mtg_card], perhaps the kindest of them all. Originally the deck she commands was going to be headed by [mtg_card]Numot[/mtg_card], but the more I thought about combining [mtg_card]Jhoira of the Ghitu[/mtg_card]’s general delay tactics with [mtg_card]Akroma, Angel of Wrath[/mtg_card] and a few of her sisters, the more I realized Zedruu’s generosity would benefit both me and my fellow players. At least until I have a few of those archangels in play. So far she seems fun, but considering how my sister regards timey-wimey shenanigans, that may not last.

In the very near future, though, I think I’ll be putting together a deck that will go over much better around the family gaming table. The idea is born from my sister & brother-in-law’s deck featuring [mtg_card]Darien[/mtg_card] and a whole slew of soldiers. The idea is to do something similar with elves. Not only is it a compliment to their deck’s flavor, it allows us to ally easily and with [mtg_card]Mayael[/mtg_card] as a commander, it eschews the nastier colors of blue and black in favor of archers, warriors and druids in great number. Her Naya-friendly colors also allow me to use some of the cards from Ajani’s deck I had to set aside when assembling Sedris and revamping Ghave. It’s an intriguing prospect. Like writing to reach a meager word count or hurtling towards a deadline, working with restrictions can be a good thing.