How to Play Commander or EDH in Magic the Gathering (MTG)
Commander, or EDH, is a format within MTG in which you have a general (any Legendary Creature or a Planeswalker from Commander 2014), 100 cards total (this includes your general), and has no cards repeating outside of basic lands or cards that otherwise say so (like Relentless Rats or Shadowborn Apostle). The format has its own ban list and rules that exist outside of other constructed MTG formats – and does encourage you to come up with your own house rules – and is generally a more casual way to play Magic the Gathering, though there are various competitive/ Tier 1 decks to play.
Your general dictates the colors you are allowed to play in your deck and looks for colors in the textbox as well as the casting cost. This makes up the card’s color identity. For example, Samut, Voice of Dissentcosts 3RG but is a Naya commander (Red, Green, and White) because she requires W to use her tap ability.
There are several ways of going about choosing your general, though. Do you want to play around a specific tribe in Magic? A specific theme like graveyard recursion? You could even consider playing a specific color wedge because a card is just too cool to pass up! Commander is a format for all players where even the worst cards in MTG have a place to shine!
Once you pick your commander, you just stuff your deck with every card in that color you own, right? Not really. There are tools and databases that help you tune up your deck according to what is popular, but it really depends on your meta. Some metas are against infinite combos, tutor effects, or even counterspells. Some rarely use Commander Damage as a way to win, and others just use group hug decks to stall games for as long as possible.
While filling up to 100 cards seems simple to do, Commander’s card pool will have you looking at 200, even 300 cards at a time and will almost always give you a tough time when deciding what cards to cut. While there is no specific way to play commander as your play style will determine the deck you build and your win-cons, Commander is definitely one of the more fun formats our card game has and while some games can last upwards of an hour, some can be over faster than it takes to shuffle your deck.
Once you have your deck, you face against your opponent (or opponents in free for all or 2-Headed Giant game modes) with a life total that will usually add up to 40 for each of you. The commander can be brought out of the command zone and into the battlefield by playing their summoning cost, and whenever they’re defeated, they can either be sent right back to the command zone or the graveyard (player’s choice). This makes it easy for you to bring them right back onto the battlefield, but keep in mind that the summoning cost will increase by two. This could lead to a very expensive summon if your general dies too many times.
That’s really all there is for you to get started with Commander or EDH in MTG! If you need any more Magic the Gathering help, be sure to leave a comment down below and we’ll do our best to help you out!
This post was originally authored by Alex Cruz.