Few have been writing or playing as long as veteran writer Abe Sargent. Today, he hits a huge milestone! To celebrate, he’s sharing his favorite Commander decks, cards, sets, and more!

That’s right folks, this is my 500th weekly article for StarCItyGames.com! And if you are doing the math at home, that’s a lot of articles.

I e-mailed Cedric about some ideas for the Big five-oh-oh. After sending it to some staff, he came back with three suggestions:

1). Give you my 500 favorite Commander cards! Actually, these are just my five favorite Commander decks I built for SCG, but that works too!

2). My five favorite works I’ve written.

3). My five favorite Magic sets.

I’m thinking that those would be three fun articles. But you know what? This is basically my 500th birthday. You know what that means? Let’s do all three. We’ll give you my five favorite Commander decks, my five favorite SCG articles I’ve penned, my five favorite Magic Sets, and I’ll toss
some more Fives at you too; we’ll intersperse all of these with fun facts about SCG and Abe.

Get ready for the Flashback fun.

Abe’s 500 Favorite Commander Cards!

Nothing challenges you like a deckbuilding project that comes from left-ish field. I love decks that evolve from those challenges, and my Random Commander
Deck challenge is great. What happens when Gatherer gives me a random legendary creature to build around that has no obvious places to delve? It’s one
thing to build a deck around a tribal theme or a control theme or what-have-you. But how do you build a deck around Mirri, the Cat Warrior?

One of my first 500 comes to you from the Random Project. I was shown Lady Caleria. I decided to build a deck around a team-up of legendary ladies that
meet up at the Adventurer’s Guildhouse and then head out to fight evil wherever it might lurk!

Miss Caleria If You're Nasty
Abe Sargent
Test deck on 08-11-2014

It’s just a fun theme, one I would have never thought of.

Next up is an obvious choice (sorry). Welcome Equinaut! This deck uses creatures that can return themselves (or anther creature of yours) so that you can
play and replay them and trigger cards like Equilibrium, Azorius AEthermage, Aura Shards, and Spirit Bonds. It has very efficient-on-the-curve beats
because it has to establish a powerful presence. The most recent version was updated a few weeks ago. Enter Equinaut:

Derevi's Equinaut Engine
Abe Sargent
Test deck on 03-09-2015
Magic Card Back

Did you know Equinaut was once featured in the Deck of a Day over at Wizards of the Coast as well?

Back in late 2013 I decided to create a casual variant of Commander called Commander ’95. The trick was to use cards that had only been printed up through Homelands. A lot of people thought the card pool would be really weak. But in my first article, I created a deck around Chromium to illustrate
that you can build strong decks here. The format is very deep, and there are lots of great cards to use in various colors and themes.

Who doesn’t want to see a Commander deck built around a classic Elder Dragon Legend from way back?

I also created a variant for Commander using just the cards that have a two-star or fewer community ranking on Gatherer. This “Crappy Commander” allows you
to run a slightly better legendary leader (up to three stars), and it’s a lot of fun. Here’s my Gosta Dirk deck:

Gosta Dirk is Gosta Fun! Amiright?

My final deck is a challenge I made to build a deck that worked and had more combos than any other, ever. My goal was to have more combos in this deck that
you can count, and yet, be able to win reliably. Get ready…

Oros, the Avenger
Abe Sargent
Test deck on 11-03-2014

Now that’s some combo overload!

With those five decks chosen, what’s next?

Did you know that I was originally offered a writing gig here at SCG because I was good at analyzing metagames and had strong tournament articles? It’s
true! I was offered a writing job at another site, and then took the offer to The Ferrett because I had been a submissions writer for SCG and wanted to get
upgraded. I was offered the job here, and that was a lot of articles ago. Now I’m casual boy!

What I want to give you today are five articles that I’ve written that didn’t get a lot of press, (either then, or now) and might have been missed by
folks. But they are pretty sexykeencool:

1). Goodbye Michigan
– It’s a fun nostalgic and introspective take on my work, my calling, and my people. It missed a lot of radars, but it’s one of my favorite pieces. Enjoy!

2). Joey’s Ice Deck
– How can I figure out what a kid’s deck is? I try to re-create the very special Ice Deck. After all, it’s the second rarest deck in the world…

3). More Stories from the Three Kingdoms

– As someone who has actually read the full unabridged 2000+ page opus that is Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I felt it would be fun to give some stories
about the characters and cards from the Three Kingdoms set here.

4). Rare Drafting
– My most controversial articles, by far, were the ones I wrote about how to rare draft and still win. I rare drafted excessively and would often win some
packs online. Until WotC made changes to drafting and booster packs and sets that made rare drafting and winning a more difficult proposition…

5). The Quest for the Perfect Token

– To this day, this remains my personal favorite article I’ve ever penned. Are you searching for the perfect token?

I’m not the same person I was in 2001 when SCG published my first article. Back then I was more cynical and dark. My favorite music group was Depeche Mode,
my favorite movie Donnie Darko, my favorite novel Dracula, and my favorite musical genre was darkwave. It showed in my writing too. Today I’m a better
writer, but I’m a positive, happy, never-met-an-exclamation-point-I-didn’t-like sort of fellow.

Here, I’ll show you. Here’s a random tournament report from my ongoing quest to make

R/G a thing in Odyssey Block Constructed

. This was written in my submission days, before I was paid. But my style has really altered. Now, I’ll pen an article like Silumgar’s EDH deck in Path to Power all day long, but my take on
the game has really changed.

I moved to writing about casual pretty heavily when I started writing a series of articles about building your first Five Color deck (Five Color was a
popular format that rolled 250 cards and eighteen of each color). I was on the Ruling Committee for the format, and I wrote about the decisions and my
votes and such, and interacted with the community in a variety of ways. That’s when my casual roots really came to fruition.

I was never the sort of player to run the same testing again and again. I could never play my U/W Control deck against your mono-black one ten times to see
how the matchup fares. So I was always a casual format player, even when I was hitting PTQs and Grand Prix Trials.

There used to be a writer vs writer challenge here at SCG where famous writers would build a deck, and then play best out of five on Friday night. I was
asked to do it late to sub in for someone who had to pull out, and I was going up against a major pro in Jeroen Remie. We could only build a deck up to
twenty tickets in price for MODO. With very little time, I decided to build the deck that Jeroen had built the previous week, and he decided to do a Stompy
deck with cheap beats and Umezawa’s Jitte.

My deck was the better matchup, and I won the first game easily enough. But then Jeroen just won the sideboard match. Every game he’d change things up on
me, out-thinking me at every turn. I learned more about sideboarding in that match that I had ever before or since. He won the next three, and the final
score was 1-3.

Check out the results.

What are my five favorite sets? Well that’s easy to do!

5). Champions of Kamigawa – To this day, I love the feel of the set, the flavor, and the resonant abilities. From the legendary creatures to the
spirits and the oni and more, I think they did a very good job, and the rest of the block was a huge let-down for me. Especially Saviors (Yuck).

4). Zendikar – I love the feel of “Adventure World,” something with the theme just moved me. It works on all of the right levels.

3). Planar Chaos – All of Time Spiral block was a great big love letter to players like myself who had been playing the game for an incredibly
long time. Planar Chaos was the best of the mix since you had a set where things were a little off. To this day I wish they had made purple a real

2). Lorwyn – A set where everybody was nice, and the worst the bad guys did was steal your goats and nab your pies? That’s awesome! I loved that
the Swamp art was realistic, bursting with colors, which resembles real life Swamps. Lorwyn gave us planeswalkers and tribal, a card type we’ve
missed ever since (save for an awesome appearance in Rise of the Eldrazi). Give us more tribal!

1). Visions – Still one of the strongest sets. If you played during the early days, Visions was the set that finally put a lot of things
together. From a draft-friendly environment to playable commons to the introduction of creatures with enters-the-battlefield triggers to epic cards that
have stood the test of time, Visions is the all-time great.

Back in 2005, SCG decided to try a set of weekly articles, and each week, a regular writer would author one full week of dailies. I wrote a quick little
column called A Deck a Day, and created one fun casual deck each day for the masses. I wrote weeks and weeks of A Deck a Day, and in fact, I’ve published
more than ten weeks of articles for the A Deck a Day series that doesn’t count in the 500 weekly column total. I once asked if I could turn that into my
normal column and just write dailies in perpetuity. Well, that didn’t work out, and the feature was ultimately removed a few years later. But it was nice
to have been a part of that!

Any casual writer who has written for an extended period of time will have naturally penned a variety of articles about variants and casual formats. I’ve
created my own on multiple occasions; I’ve championed others, and even brought some out of the virtual Magic casket. Of all of the formats and variants I
have created, none are as good, fun, or interesting as the Magic Role-Playing Game.

In this variant, you create a planeswalker, and then build a deck around that ‘walker. As you play games, you gain experience points and level up, which
leads to more abilities and stats that make your deck better and better over time.

Start with

the Second Edition

. You are going to love it. In fact, one of my greatest regrets as a writer is that I didn’t champion it more in my columns. I could have easily created
different characters and decks on an ongoing basis. I wish I had. ( Here’s an update for
that Edition.)

Check it out, it’s good stuff.

And now we reach the beginning of the end of that 500th weekly article. Here’s to some more!


No set in the history of Magic has had better art from beginning to end than Portal: Second Age.

My Five Favorites…

Musical Artists

5. The Echoing Green

4. Depeche Mode

3. DJ Roger Shah

2. Schiller

1. Pet Shop Boys

Magical Artists

5. Heather Hudson

4. Rebecca Guay

3. Quinton Hoover

2. D. Alexander Gregory

1. Tom Wanerstrand

TV Shows On Right Now

5. iZombie

4. Brooklyn 99

3. S.H.I.E.L.D.

2. The Flash

1. Dr. Who

TVs Shows That Aren’t On Anymore

5. UFO

4. The Cosby Show

3. Coupling

2. The West Wing

1. Babylon 5

My Personal Top Five Favorite Jacksonville Jaguars of all Time:

5. Aaron Beasley

4. Ernest Wilford

3. Keenan McCardell

2. Donovin Darius

1. Tony Boselli

My Personal Top Five Favorite WVU Football Players of all Time:

5. Marc Bulger

4. Anthony Becht

3. Tavon Austin

2. Amos Zereoue

1. Jeff Hostetler

Video Games

5. Guild Wars

4. Culdcept

3. Ultima Online

2. Europa Universalis IV/Crusader Kings II

1. Football Manager

Indie Video Games

5. The Banner Saga

4. Dungeon of the Endless

3. Endless Space

2. Don’t Starve

1. Front Office Football

Magic Cards

5. Silklash Spider

4. Tortured Existence

3. Volrath’s Stronghold

2. Commander Eesha

1. Scarwood Bandits

Favorite Games:

5. Middle Earth: CCG

4. Heroclix

3. Magic

2. Dungeons and Dragons

1. BattleTech

Check out my full Top Ten

Things That I Find Overrated

5. Chipotle

4. Katy Perry

3. Old Films with poor pacing that are boring to me today (2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Solaris, etc).

2. Battlestar Galactica (Reboot)

1. Michael Jordan

And honorable mention to John Steinbeck. Yuck.

Things That I Find Underrated

5. Tudor’s Biscuit World

4. County Fairs

3. Old films that people have largely forgotten about that are awesome (The Americanization of Emily, Bad Day at Black Rock, Advise & Consent, etc.)

2. The older Godzilla films, even the “bad” ones.

1. West Virginia Tourism!

Books That are Better Than You Think They’d Be

5. The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

4. The Dying Earth, by Jack Vance

3. Byzantium Endures, by Michael Moorcock

2. The Ship of Ishtar, by A .Merritt

1. Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Stuff I Liked When I Was in High School, But I Find Pretty Crappy Now

5. Guitar-Fed Ballads

4. The Color Black

3. MC Hammer

2. Battletech Novels

1. RA Salvatore


5. You

4. You

3. You

2. You

1. You