“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
– Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”
Since this will probably get a bit surreal, I figured that it couldn’t hurt to open with a little Lewis Carroll. It’s Q and A time again, so as I do three
or four times a year, I’ve asked the community for questions. This will presage some of the questions likely to come up in Atlanta at the Q&A session,
so it’s good for me to get the practice. Let’s dive right in.
How do you get new cards? Buy boxes? Draft? Singles? Whole sets?
I have a very dear friend who keeps me in cards. If I need extras, I get them as singles from this here very website.
If you ever make it out to Seattle, would you invite me to play some EDH with you and Scott?
It depends. Do we enjoy the same kinds of games?
Why is Sway of the Stars banned?
You can check out the philosophy document here. Like with Upheaval, only the
caster has the opportunity to float mana and put stuff back onto the battlefield that turn. The complete board reset plus the life total thing don’t really
make the kind of game we think is good for the format.
Have you ever played with Planechase Planes? If so, did you use any variant rules (Blind Eternities Map, etc)?
I have, but it’s been a while. After Planechase came out, we played with it a great deal. It was fun and thoroughly changed the nature of the
game, which if you read last week’s article, you realize that I don’t mind every now and then. I don’t think I’ve played with any of the variant rules. At
a certain point, we gave up on Planechase because it was a little too random. Except for Goat plane. That was awesome.
In your years playing Magic, judging, and casually observing, are you aware of a trend in which players utilize extensive maths knowledge during
gameplay? Do you subscribe to the results of the shuffling logarithm when determining if a shuffle was sufficient?
Yes, I am aware that math is a significant component of Magic. I wouldn’t call it a trend, I’d call it a foundation. I don’t think you need to pull out a
slide rule to figure out if a deck is random or not, and that’s the only criterion. It doesn’t matter how you got there, so long as it’s random.
During your time as a Judge, what is one card that you feel made players the most frustrated during competitive events?
Braids, Cabal Minion. People forgot that trigger all the time.
If you could suggest one card to be run in every EDH deck (other than mana sources), would what it be?
Perplexing Chimera! Also check out last week’s article for other cool ideas just like that.
Why is Iona, Shield of Emeria still legal? Purely on its own merits, doesn’t it (formally speaking) Interact Badly with the Format because of EDH’s
unique Colour Identity rule?
Certainly one of the most talked-about cards in the format, Iona doesn’t interact any differently with the format than it does with any other. With devoid
now being a thing, Iona is even a little weaker. It’s a very expensive creature (and yes, I’m aware that it can get cheated into play) that changes the
nature of a game when it hits play. My current experience with Iona (both playing locally and reading about the games you folks are playing) is that it’s a
bit of a bogeyman. It seems more like a potential threat than an actual one. Are people playing it so much as to make it oppressive? I don’t see
significant evidence. I could be convinced otherwise.
What variants of EDH do you often play with? Planechase? Vanguard? Archenemy? 2HG?
At the moment, my amount of play is seriously curtailed. I’m taking sixteen credits this semester, one of which is a graduate course. When I have the
opportunity to play, it’s “straight up,” if you will. I haven’t played a variant in quite some time.
Maple Crown Royal – clever marketing and flavour
(sic) to cover up a mediocre whisky or delicious and fiendish trap to encourage the over-consumption of spirits?
Clever marketing aimed at Canadians or characters in Fargo to cover up mediocre whisky. Factory-flavored booze is rarely good (Absolut Peppar
might be an exception). If you want flavored stuff, just do it yourself with more natural ingredients.
A follow up to that question…Bourbon or Rye?
Both, but I assume this is one of those ‘have to choose’ situations, in which case it’s Bourbon, which is probably the most important non-wine alcoholic
beverage in the house. We always have on hand three kinds: Wild Turkey 101 for mixing with ginger beer (or ginger ale); Blanton’s for making mint juleps
(perhaps Angel’s Envy when we can’t find Blanton’s); Pappy Van Winkle 12- or 15-year old (depending on what’s available; the 20- and 23- are more than I
want to spend) for just sipping. If you want both Bourbon and Rye together, you can get Wild Turkey Forgiven, which has a little of the latter mixed in.
Should CI be properly spelled Color Identity or Colour Identity?
Should players who spell it incorrectly receive a ten life penalty at the start of the game, or just ten lashes?
Get rid of the extraneous u’s. They went into Boston Harbor with all that tea. We’ll go with a more gentle form of education . [The cross-cultural ‘u’ usage is tolerated here, but I respect the rights of those hostile towards it. -Ed]
What discontinued keyword or mechanic (Banding, Manaburn, Ante, etc) would you bring back if you could?
Banding, for sure. It’s the most confusing mechanic ever, and it would make good friend and Monday Night Gamer Keith “Baton of Morale” Bogart quite happy.
Koreans have a saying, “Even a monkey can fall from a tree,” which is appropriate for those who believe themselves flawless; what is your favorite
proverb or saying (from any culture)?
“Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.”
Okay, slightly more seriously (although now that I think on it, it might be from the Klingons), “better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”
“Fear is the mind-killer.”
And one I’ve repeated often in my life, “I’d rather fail as myself than succeed as someone else.”
If you could make any 1 nonlegendary creature legendary, what would it be?
All four Nephilim, so I could quit answering that particular question.
Are you patiently awaiting colorless basics like some people or do you think Mono-Brown is fine as it is? I recently made a colorless deck and having
every land be some kind of spell is very powerful, and I find the deck is more powerful for it, rather than less.
I can’t say that I’m waiting for anything. Having a Karn, Silver Golem deck, I’d appreciate a few more options, but I won’t hold my breath.
How much do you value sportsmanship, not just at the EDH tables but on the Pro Tour as well? This is something I’ve been working on improving, not easy
but ultimately rewarding when it works.
Although I’m a human being and sometimes fall short of my own ideals, I believe in taking the high road in all things. Sportsmanship is just shorthand for
treating other human beings decently. I agree that it’s quite rewarding. See the earlier Klingon quote. A long time ago, I wrote an essay about doing the
right thing. The basic idea is that sometimes when you do, you take your lumps. But you’ve still done the right thing. I always want to be happy with the
person I am inside (I was going to say “the person I see in the mirror every day,” but that dude is getting old).
If there was any race, animal, craft, or any other thing from real life or any of the thousands of myths and stories that encompass the general genre
of magic that you could have appear in a future set, what would it be? Personally, I would enjoy more sea monsters and if they could find a way to
incorporate a race of sentient moose I would be extremely happy.
Okay, I’m with you on the moose, if only because it would give us even more reason to quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I would love to
see a set based on the society and culture of the Aiel from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, who I consider the coolest people in any fantasy
setting. I would also love to see a set based on one of the peoples I’ve created in my own setting, probably the vaguely-Nordic Ravelainen (eventually
coming to a bookshelf near you).
When was the last time you built a deck from scratch? Your stable of decks is impressive but I get the impression that it’s all tuning now, rather than
innovation. What inspires you to put together a new deck? A mechanic, a general, a single card?
The Threat of Yasova is the last built-from-scratch deck (assuming you don’t count the Do Over Project decks, since they have a different starting point).
I looked at the mechanic of the commander and immediately knew that I wanted to build a deck around it.
Is there a European Commander celebration happening & will you be over for it?
Not as far as I know. If there is in 2016 and it happens when I’m not drowning under grad courses, I’d be happy to come.
On a scale of one to gibbering-teenage-girl-at-a-One-Direction concert, how excited are you about the Commander 2015 product?
What Shampoo do you use?
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Shampoo.
What is a commander you’ve always been dying to try to make a deck around?
I have yet to make a Riku of Two Reflections deck. I’ve run him as the commander for my Intet deck, but I would eventually like to build one of his own for
Is there any specific tribe you’d like to see more Commander based support for?
Moose. Definitely moose.
What is your favorite food to pair with a red wine?
The question is a little too broad, because what goes well with Cabernet Sauvignon (a nice, marbled ribeye) is different than what goes well with Pinot
Noir (like a great piece of Pacific salmon). As pairings go, I like to keep food and wine from the same region.
The best topic of a paper you’ve ever had to grade?
Well, since I’m a student, I don’t grade papers. Even though I’m in a graduate program, I don’t have to teach classes or do any other TA work. My favorite
paper of my own is entitled “The Baby Dies: Social Degeneration in the 19th Century American Seduction Novel.”
Is there any aspect of the format that you believe WOTC should tap into, that they haven’t yet? Either in full sets or Commander supplemental product?
We’ve seen the command zone played with to some degree already (and are getting experience counters that function in a similar way), so I’m curious to
know if you have anything you’d like to see (and are healthy for the format)?
I’d like to see them work a little more (and a little more responsibly) with the command zone. I love the Will of the Council mechanic. For untapped
potential, I’d like to see them do something with end of combat-like “If ~this~ attacked (or didn’t attack) this turn, do
plenty of room for what that something might be.
What’s the most recurring restriction you put upon yourself when deckbuilding?
No infinite combos. If one unintentionally works its way into a deck, I’ll remove one of the pieces-like taking Melira, Sylvok Outcast out of a deck with
Woodfall Primus and multiple sacrifice outlets.
What’s your favorite theme to work around or that’s your most recurring theme? Do you, for instance, have a certain theme that you keep building around
but never find the perfect deck/general for it?
I seem to keep building Jund decks. I like to move around from theme to theme, but I suppose that nearly everything I build is creature-heavy.
Does the rules committee get to see any of the new cards for the commander decks ahead of time (not asking for spoilers just curious if wizards lets
you guys have a heads up)?
Well, since Scott is in the building, the easy answer is yes. He’s even been on a Commander design team. As for the rest of us, they’ll occasionally ask
our opinion on stuff, but there isn’t a hard agreement about if they will or won’t.
Any plans to unban the Moxen?
Nope. No real reason to. If we did, nothing would break, but there isn’t a compelling reason to do so.
What’s the RC’s current stance on Prophet of Kruphix?
Do you think any of the generals printed since your last AMA were mistakes?
Well, I think mistakes are actually okay. Mistakes show that the designers are thinking and pushing the envelope. I’m willing to forgive Derevi or Prossh
because they’re making an effort to do something cool.
Why not Zoidberg?
Because his pincers would cut my cool Italian foil cards in half.
Same question as last time: Does the RC ever feel like you’re making rules and banning cards to appeal to a casual crowd that is the most likely to be
able to police themselves?
No, because the crowd that we’re targeting is too big to police themselves. House bans are great for individual groups but don’t translate to the larger
Has hybrid mana been considered to be legal in decks despite one side of the color not being usable? What are the reasons against having this happen?
No, we’re pretty comfortable with color identity staying exactly where it is. A hybrid card is inherently both colors, and we think the restriction makes
the format better.
Prophet of Kruphix has been getting a lot of hate the past year. Will it be considered for a banning?
You guys are getting much smarter at trying to get me to admit there’s a Watch List. Prophet of Kruphix generates talk. When you talk about a card, we pay
What non-legendary Red/White card(s) would you want to see to give the color pairing an edge versus stuff like Green/Blue?
A Zo-Zu the Punisher variant that also has you gain life when lands enter the battlefield, gets bigger with those lands, and can deal damage to a creature
plus untap when that creature dies. One card isn’t going to solve anything.
Hi Sheldon, what seems to be the overall consensus with the EDH community’s opinions regarding the upcoming mulligan change in January? Have you and
the RC narrowed down any mulligan options since the article you posted on October 8th?
The “put lands in your opening hand” variant was routinely hated because it would let people short their land counts and might actually lead to more combo
decks than fewer. We’ve pretty much thrown that one off the raft. Other than that, we’re still exploring options.
How many commander decks you have? Could you send links for lists?
34. The links already exist right here on this here website (and at the bottom of this very column every week).
What is the most expensive card you have? How many of them do you have?
I have a few Moat and Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, but the card that I imagine I might turn into the most cash (and it would take an extreme offer-well
north of $1,000) is this Eric Klug original:
Any chance we see “banned as commander” again?
Accepting that anything could happen and speaking in absolutes is usually the wrong thing to do, pretty close to zero chance that we reinstate it.
What is your favorite food?
Fermented grapes is technically a food, right? I don’t really have a single favorite food, although I have an unnatural attachment to sandwiches. I love
all the variations of meats, cheeses, and vegetables stuffed between interesting breads. I have a huge soft spot for grilled breads, especially deli rye.
If you ever want to poison me, just slip some arsenic into a garlic bread.
Who is your favorite MTG artist?
It’s a tie between Rob Alexander and Terese Nielsen.
What is the most competitive deck you have ever played against?
In this format? I’m sure I’ve erased it from my memory.
Which deck you built do you personally consider the strongest?
Dreaming of Intet.
Which format (if any) would play if EDH didn’t exist?
I played a great deal of Standard in the past (now more than 5 years, I think, since I’ve played regularly). I like the constantly shifting landscape of
What role do you think combo has in this format?
I assume you’re talking about dedicated combo decks here. Easy early turn kill decks are toxic to the format. They’re not inherently toxic, just contextually. They’re perfectly reasonable for other formats. It’s fine for local groups who all think it’s cool, and I’m glad there’s a way for
them to have a good time. I simply don’t want the format to just be alt-Vintage.
What is your greatest wish for the upcoming Commander product?
Moose. Definitely moose.
Considering how many forums you post this on, what’s a rough estimate of the percentage of questions that are ban list related?
Less than you might think. I’m pleased to see that folks are interested in other stuff as well.
When you heard that Planeswalkers were being made into commanders, did you consider allowing all Planeswalkers to be commanders?
Not for a second.
White is considered to be the weakest colour in EDH. What do you think it needs to become stronger?
I disagree that it’s the weakest. Red is still the weakest. To make red stronger, starting life totals would have to be lower, and there’s not much chance
of that happening. Matching up the power level of all the colors relative to the format is a fool’s errand that would lead to an ever-escalating arms race.
Do you think that Wizards need to stop trying to throw new gimmicks into each Commander product? (Command zone interaction, PW commanders, experience
Unequivocally no. I want them to keep trying new stuff.
What was your first general?
What is your favorite general to play with?
If you could go back in time (when/where) would you go?
I would go back into the primordial soup and remove the gene from human DNA that causes people to like bad reality shows. I don’t want to get rid of the
Kardashians. I want any desire to watch them (and all the other garbage shows) to never have existed.
What’s some of your favorite new cards from Battle for Zendikar? Any of the new legendary creatures tickling your deckbuilding bone?
It’s the simple things, really. Hedron Archive is the one likely to go into the most decks in the long run. Void Winnower is pretty saucy. Sire of
Stagnation really gets my motor running. The only commander I’ve thought about is Omnath, Locus of Rage and trying to build something non-obvious.
Yeah, that is pretty easy. Child of Alara pauper.
Personal question, if you don’t mind digging deep: what are your thoughts on life, death, and eternity?
We are, unto ourselves, immortal. We can never truly know that we are dead. My basic motto in life is a quote sometimes attributed to Gandhi, although I’m
not sure he actually said it: “Live like you’re going to die tomorrow. Learn like you’re going to live forever.”
Tricky question: Spongebob weights 100lbs, and 99% of that is water weight. While he is sitting on the beach, some of that water evaporates so that
water only comprises 98% of his weight. How much does Spongebob now weigh?
100 pounds. Because cartoon characters can do that.
What is an average start to your (or any other RC member’s) day?
Well, there are five different answers to that, since we don’t live in an anarcho-syndicalist commune. The beginning of my days are all remarkably similar
and boring. I wake up, take a walk with my wife (weather permitting), make coffee, scoop the cat box, get on the computer, and dive into schoolwork.
How do you react when being hit in the face with a water balloon?
Rather violently, I would imagine. Don’t recall it happening since I was like six.
How do other people react to you throwing water balloons at them?
I can’t say.
Is there any good place to buy water balloons in bulk?
What’s your favourite flavour of flavoured water?
The kind without all the extra u’s.
How long would you say your hair is?
Longer than it was a minute ago.
When can I have Gifts Ungiven back?
See the hyperlink that answers the water balloon question.
Since the removal of ‘official’ support for sideboards in EDH, have the RC spoken at all about whether or not it would be possible to somehow introduce
‘official’ support for Wishes? If not, is support for Wishes something which is at least feasible in the future or is it a complete no-go?
We’ve never discussed it, so I’d say it’s a no-go. Wishboards seem like something best handled at the local level. There’s no need to add another layer of
rules just so a select few can go to large events and tyrannize unsuspecting people by insisting they have to follow an optional rule.
The wish cards are all ‘shadow banned’ by a special rule that prevents their effect from working as worded; are you open to possibly creating more of
these types of rules that could work as a format wide stop to things the RC considers an abuse of the spirit of the format? For example, new rule:
players may not take extra turns.
You have to be super-careful making rules to prevent a single kind of thing from happening. There are all kinds of secondary and tertiary effects. Extra
turns are like Mindslaver. One is fine. Multiples are problematic. Writing a rule to take care of that is very difficult and not worth the effort (some
difficult things, like getting a good education, are definitely worth the effort).
Also, I have a debate from real-life with a friend of mine that I would appreciate a judge’s thoughts on… Who would win in a fight between Goku and
Goku is the Dragonball-Z guy, right? Then Superman, because he’s Krytpo-American and has the full might of the military-industrial complex behind him.
Is it possible that the Nephilim could one day become honorary legendary creatures for commander? They are supposed to be one-of-a-kind and I know a
ton of people who would be okay with that.
We don’t do format-level errata (because we long ago realized what a rabbit hole it is). If your local group is okay with it, then great. I’m reasonably
sure if you took a Nephilim deck to a large event, most folks wouldn’t have a problem with it.
What is your opinion on mass land destruction in EDH?
It has its place. It’s not the answer to ramp that some people seem to think it is, but it’s a viable strategy. If you’re constantly using MLD to create
oppressive situations, you might want to rethink your approach, though.
What about one turn kills?
If you mean Turn 1 kills, they’re one of the worst things for the format. If you’re talking about dealing 40 damage (or 21 commander damage) in a single
turn, it depends what turn you’re on. On Turn 1, it’s awful. Once you’re into double digits on turns, everything is fair game.
If there is something you’d like to see more of in EDH what would it be?
People considering other peoples’ fun. I see too many people playing with their head down and focused on their own thing. It’s about the social environment
as much as the cards. I want people to enjoy the folks they’re playing with, too.
Should Extort not be considered WB for the purposes of color identity? I understand that the mana symbol is printed in the reminder text but it is a
mechanic that functions off of and relies on the pairing, and as such feels out of place in a mono-black or mono-white deck. Would the Committee be
open to reviewing this, and possibly changing their stance on it?
No, we’re pretty firm on this. Again, we won’t write format-level errata on stuff. If Matt Tabak decides one day that there is a W/B inherency to Extort,
we’d go along with it. There’s no current reason to do anything about it.
If you could have any superpower of your choice, what would it be?
To drink as much alcohol as I want and never get beyond a pleasant buzz.
Yeah, they’re not and don’t have to be single-card game-enders. Each of them takes other cards to do anything. And they all take loads of mana to do it
(which green can obviously get done). None of those cards accidentally ruin games. I’m reasonably sure I could play Tooth and Nail in any green deck I
have, and it would never end a game that’s not already close to over.
I’m in favor of unbanning Painter’s Servant. Do you have any good arguments for keeping it banned? Sell it to me.
I’m under the impression that you read most of what is posted on these forums. Is there a reason you don’t post on them as often? Not even to offer
some poor chap some deck-building advice or something?
The real, not-trying-to-be snide answer is that I don’t have the time. Each of us on the RC commit time to the effort, but in the end, it’s not paying the
bills or getting us an education. Time is the only finite resource in the world. We do as much as we can.
Is there a way that as you guys do RC meetings, to assign someone as ‘official minute-taker’, and publish some summary of your discussions online (and
if it already exists, sorry I haven’t been able to locate it/them)?
We already do. The summary is the quarterly rules update. For what I think you’re really asking, sure, there’s a way, but we’re not going to do it. We want
everyone on the committee to feel free to discuss every issue from every side without having everything each of us says dissected ad infinitum.
Publishing such a thing would be inviting way more trouble than it’s worth. We like transparency just fine; there’s simply no need to publish every bit of
all of our thought processes or who voted which way on what cards.
Thoughts on kaffeesnaps? (basic recipe is: 1 bottle akvavit, 1 cup whole coffee beans, 75g sugar, then leave it to rest for like a fortnight).
I’d give it a whirl, maybe even with that kind of weird caraway-flavored akvavit. I love coffee. Adding local moonshine to it seems interesting.
How much can you curl?
At the moment, comparatively little. At my peak (nearly 20 years ago), reps with 135 wasn’t unusual.
Three weeks from now, if you were a dragon?
I’d go back in time three weeks so I wouldn’t have to wait that long to be a dragon.
What is the ideal number of players in a game of commander? What is the largest game you’ve played in?
Four is perfection. I think I’ve played with as many as 11. It was miserable.
If a train leaves Paris moving East at 50 kilometers per hour and another train leaves at the same time going west at 50 miles per hour, how many
colors is oregano?
Favorite breakfast cereal?
My breakfast nearly every day is Heartland Hearty Raisin Granola, Greek yogurt (usually cherry, sometimes blueberry), and a banana all mixed together. The
last time I ate a sweet cereal was probably before most of you were born.
When is the appropriate time to taste the delicious tears of your opponents?
Every hour of every day.
Any plans on replacing O-Dice?
No, we’re comfortable with having a committee of five for the time being. Like with Devon, if someone presents themselves as an undeniable candidate for
adding to the committee, the door will be open to them.
Would you consider adding me to the RC to get the perspective of someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about? I don’t mean to brag or anything,
but one time I did in fact win a game of Magic Cards.
I’d make a joke about getting enough perspective from people who don’t know what they’re talking about by reading internet forums, but I’m sure it would
ruffle some feathers.
How do you feel about turning creatures sideways?
It’s one of my favorite things to do. I feel good. I like the word “battle.”
What is your favorite color? Take that any way you like. Preferably not in a racist way.
Black, and not just in Magic.
What’s your favorite card?
Still Living Death after all these years.
Have you ever played with Un-set cards and if so how did that go for you?
I wasn’t there, but once over the Christmas break between leagues, Armada Games did it. The reports were that they were some of the most miserable games
How many licks does it take for you to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Three. Everyone knows this.
Very good on the domestic front, with some radical but supportable ideas. Sketchy on the global. People think that the job of the US President is primarily
domestic; those people would be wrong. Bernie Sanders is someone whose ideas you use; you don’t put him in the White House.
^ This. Who does the RC vote for next big election?
Scott is a huge Bernie Sanders supporter. Toby (British) and Gavin (Canadian) live in California, so they’re obviously hippies, but their nationality
prevents them from voting. Alex is Canadian too, so also a hippie. Being a lifelong Democrat, it seems weird to me that I’m the “conservative” vote. I want
Elizabeth Warren to be President. She’s the complete awesome.
Do you think the Commander products could stand to highlight the philosophy statement more, and do you have any ideas how it could be accomplished? Do
you think adding a ‘variations’ insert which details a basic point scheme/league set could be helpful in addressing and teaching playing for style vs.
playing to win (they have done somewhat similar in pre-release achievement cards)?
That seems a little beyond the scope of the product, which is primarily focused on getting people into the format. The socialization takes a little more
time and deft touch.
What Commander-Specific rules do you notice most new players tripping over in their beginning games? Do you think any of these rules could use
improvements/streamlining to make them more initially intuitive?
None, really. The concept of banned cards seems to trip up people more than anything. I find the mechanics of the format tend to resonate pretty quickly
with most folks because while they may be identifiable, they’re not overly complex.
Have you (or the Committee) ever thought of removing the “You can’t produce colored mana not of your Commander’s Color Identity” rule? It feels like it
accomplishes little both flavor-wise and gameplay-wise.
I know you tried to shorten this question, but let me get at the heart of what you’re asking. Anyone who wants to read the whole thing can see it here (and that’s not a RickRoll). The
answer is that it’s come up, but as far as I recall not internally. We’ve never seriously discussed changing it. I’ll disagree that it accomplishes little
flavor-wise-it accomplishes a great deal. It establishes one of the foundational differences between this format and others. One of the arguments to get
rid of it is that it’s redundant because of color identity. That’s not necessarily the case, since you can end up playing with cards that didn’t start in
your deck. The gameplay part is secondary to the flavor.
How would you feel about adding an errata for popular non-legendary creatures such as Tamanoa to become legendary (perhaps in conjunction with a
reprint). Have you ever discussed the possibility of doing this with Wizards?
Once again, no format-level errata on cards. We have not and won’t discuss such a possibility.
Considering the RC’s admission both that Balance has never been tested and is being judged solely on its status in Legacy and Vintage; with all of the
obscenely broken cards in other colors and with white being the least powerful color by a large margin, why is this card still banned?
Balance doesn’t need to be tested. I hope you don’t mind that I reject your argument that white is the weakest color by any margin. The answer to your
question is (and I’m saying this in the least dismissive way possible) “we know what we’re doing.”
Do you think Wizards would ever go for replacing those (utterly useless) oversized commander cards with 2 or 3 new planechase planes in Commander
Precons? Is that asking too much?
Despite the loadedness of the question, that’s for the marketing folks to decide. If you don’t like them, send the company your feedback (and suggestions).
They’ll listen. I, for one, like the oversized cards.
Favorite topping (on any food)?
I love great sauces. It’s hard to argue with a well-made Bearnaise or Hollandaise-and I appreciate them more when they’re good because I know how difficult
they are to make.
Who was your first kiss? Are you still in touch with him/her?
Thanks for bringing up a warm memory. Her name was Valerie and she was also my first girlfriend. We were next-door neighbors. We were 13. I didn’t even
know she liked me. Then one summer evening, hanging on her front porch with a few other kids from the neighborhood, she grabbed me and planted one on me. I
recall feeling like I hadn’t been alive until that point. Like most relationships between 13-year-olds, it didn’t last long (a number of months, which is
forever when you’re 13), but we stayed friendly through our teens. I lost touch of her after I moved out of the neighborhood in 1980.
How important is winning games of EDH to you?
Not particularly. Sure, I like to win, but having good times and epic games is way more important. I’m okay with being on the losing end of the awesome
I’ve heard you have a long running RPG campaign. I started my own about a year ago. None of the group has played before. I think I’m doing alright as a
DM, but I want to be better. Got any general advice?
It’s one of my favorite topics to talk about. The job of the GM isn’t to be the opponent of the players. Sure, you set up the conflict; that doesn’t mean
it’s you against them. I see RPGs as cooperative theater. The PCs are the stars. The GM is the director, set designer, editor, orchestra, and bit-part
player. Feel free to talk to me more offline about this (and join the FB group mentioned at the bottom of the article).
Do you feel it’s better for WotC to design cards with or without Commander in mind?
It’s better that they do both. We’re not the only format in existence. They have to design thinking about all the Constructed and Limited formats. They
can’t just look at every card and judge if it’s good or bad for Commander. If that means that they end up making cards which we ban because they interact
poorly with the format, that’s fine by us.
What’s your favorite non-reprint legendary creature printed in a Commander product, and why?
Animar, Soul of Elements, because as I’ve already mentioned, it has created some of the most amazing games I’ve ever played in.
Any rulings/advisories to help soften the prejudice towards combo players? Too many people whine about non-combat infinites, even if the combo is
complex to pull off.
One of the best ways to combat prejudice is to avoid using prejudicial language. Characterizing other peoples’ dislike of something as whining isn’t going
to help your case. My best advice-and this is coming from someone who believes that combo is, as I mentioned previously, toxic to the format-is to accept
that what we as individuals like isn’t the only thing that’s worth liking. Combo isn’t bad in and of itself, it’s the alienating effect that is has that’s
problematic. Simply put, I believe that it drives more people away from the format than it brings in. I don’t believe that the people who play combo are
inherently bad. What’s bad is if they don’t give a damn about anyone else they’re playing with (which in my observation tends to be the case).
How do you all determine whether a card is format warping or is just insanely powerful but still within acceptable boundaries not to be banned?
There’s no equation for this. We use our best judgment, format philosophy, and years of experience at the highest levels of Magic to help guide us.
You are forced to impose one of your house rules upon the entirety of the EDH community. Which one is it?
We’re run way over our allotted space, so it’s time to wrap. Thanks to everyone for all the great questions. Given the number that we got and how fast we
got them, I’ll have to do this slightly more often.
This Week’s Deck Without Comment is Thassa, God of Merfolk
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Lord of Atlantis
- 1 Silent Arbiter
- 1 Giant Oyster
- 1 Seasinger
- 1 Old Man of the Sea
- 1 Seahunter
- 1 Empress Galina
- 1 Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor
- 1 Tidespout Tyrant
- 1 Deep-Sea Kraken
- 1 Merrow Harbinger
- 1 Merrow Reejerey
- 1 Mulldrifter
- 1 Silvergill Adept
- 1 Wanderwine Prophets
- 1 Slithermuse
- 1 Wake Thrasher
- 1 Kederekt Leviathan
- 1 Merfolk Sovereign
- 1 Lullmage Mentor
- 1 Merfolk Seastalkers
- 1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
- 1 Scroll Thief
- 1 Stormtide Leviathan
- 1 Void Stalker
- 1 Master of the Pearl Trident
- 1 Tidebinder Mage
- 1 Shipbreaker Kraken
- 1 Thassa, God of the Sea
- 1 Master of Waves
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Dakra Mystic
- 1 Scourge of Fleets
- 1 Harbinger of the Tides
- 1 Sensei's Divining Top
- 32 Island
- 1 Opportunity
- 1 Siren's Call
- 1 Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
- 1 Whispers of the Muse
- 1 Desertion
- 1 Turnabout
- 1 Citanul Flute
- 1 Evacuation
- 1 Coastal Piracy
- 1 Ensnare
- 1 Rhystic Study
- 1 Breaking Wave
- 1 Deluge
- 1 Keep Watch
- 1 Frozen Aether
- 1 Cryptic Command
- 1 Merrow Commerce
- 1 Research the Deep
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Spreading Seas
- 1 Elixir of Immortality
- 1 Temporal Mastery
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Bident of Thassa
- 1 Sea God's Revenge
Check out our awesome Deck List Database for the latest versions of all my decks:
AURELIA GOES TO WAR;
CHILDREN of a LESSER GOD;
DEMONS OF KAALIA;
EREBOS and the HALLS OF THE DEAD;
HELIOD, GOD OF ENCHANTMENTS;
DREAMING OF INTET;
FORGE OF PURPHOROS;
KARN, BEATDOWN GOLEM;
HALLOWEEN WITH KARADOR;
KARRTHUS, WHO RAINS FIRE FROM THE SKY;
KRESH INTO THE RED ZONE;
LAZAV, SHAPESHIFTING MASTERMIND;
ZOMBIES OF TRESSERHORN;
MELEK’S MOLTEN MIND GRIND;
MERIEKE’S ESPER CONTROL;
NATH of the VALUE LEAF;
NYLEA OF THE WOODLAND REALM;
OBZEDAT, GHOST KILLER;
PURPLE HIPPOS and MARO SORCERERS;
ZEGANA and a DICE BAG;
YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF;
RURIC THAR AND HIS BEASTLY FIGHT CLUB;
THASSA, GOD OF MERFOLK;
THE ALTAR of THRAXIMUNDAR;
TROSTANI and HER ANGELS;
THE THREAT OF YASOVA;
If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987 and is just now getting started with a new saga called “The Lost Cities of Nevinor”), ask for an invitation to the Facebook group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”