Flash of Insight — My New Year's EDHREC-solutions
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all are getting hyped for Rivals of Ixalan now that we have the whole set. Granted, they did cram the whole set into a single week (seriously, talk about information overload!). Keep an eye out for our set review coming out throughout the week, there's some CRAZY new goodness in Rivals. Dead Man's Chest has even myself, the least black playing person I know, absolutely stoked. Add that with Twilight Prophet and other sweet vampires for my Edgar Markov deck and you know that that makes...yes, a stew. A brew stew.
We'll have plenty of time to rant and rave how Wizards has been on a roll with EDH goodies the past few blocks, but today I wanted to slow down just a smidge. 2017 was a great year for us at EDHREC and for the format in general. I think it's good to look back and Ponder about what happened and how it might Exert Influence on the future.
What went right?
Lots did! Really, it did! How do I know? Well, I'm here aren't I? I may have been fired once or twice, but they keep publishing what I send them so that's got to count for something! We launched loads of content here at EDHREC to compliment all the data the site provides. I know having a wide variety of Commander content every day gives me something to look forward to. Not to sound biased or anything, but I think EDHREC has at least one great writer for every type of Commander player out there. Whether it's upgrading your deck with better versions of what you already have or need a cheap addition there is a slew of writers ready to provide their insight into the format. We even have great videos from the Magic community handy if that's what you're into as well!
What is on the horizon now? Another year of improvements, hopefully. The annual Commander product seems to get more and more interesting every year, Wizards has (in my mind) done a great job with reprinting cards and making them more obtainable for everyone, plus there always seems to be a few cards with every new set that light the Commander players minds on fire. Say what you will about personal feelings on the Rules Committee, but they do a better job at managing the format better than I could, so I don't mind. 2018 even brings the return of Modern as a Pro Tour format! In case you didn't know, I love me some Modern, so that's something I'm super excited to see personally.
Since making new year resolutions is all the rage these days, I guess it's time to hop on the bandwagon and be super basic too. Here are my Magic resolutions!
Resolution #1 - Enjoy the games more
I'll be honest, I know that I can get caught up in the action of the games. Instead of going for the new fun addition to the deck I usually go for the "winning play." Not that there is anything wrong with going for the best or smart move, but I'm sure we all have some cards in a deck or two that we haven't gotten to play much. I just hope to take the "fun," route more often than I have in years past instead of the "best," route. If this means tutoring for a Sandwurm Convergence instead of a Dovescape now and then so be it. Sandwurm Convergence is freaking sweet so who cares anyways?
Seriously, what's NOT to like about this?
If you listen to The Command Zone podcast (which you should) you'll be familiar with Josh Lee Kwai's post-game habits. He notes that after games he will point out crazy plays and other things that players did that contributed to the game they just finished. This is a great way to foster a playgroup and help show other players that not only you were paying attention to what they did, but you're taking time to appreciate what they brought to the table. You don't have to be a filthy casual to actually have fun during the games, or to tell someone they played a great game, or just...y'know...not be a knob-job. But seriously, Magic is a big enough game that we all can get along.
Resolution #2 - Find more hidden gems
Did you know that Saprazzan Heir was a card? Until like, a week ago I didn't know it existed either. It's not even in 100 decks reported to EDHREC! But you can bet your prerelease promo that once Rivals of Ixalan comes out with even more merfolk people will be looking for new additions to their tribal decks. What about Crown of Empires and its companions for their tribal vampires deck? We all know that they're going to have the vampiric conquistadors win over the dinosaur and merfolk tribes, so what better to declare dominance with Throne of Empires and Scepter of Empires to complete the cycle?
There's got to be a world this card is insane...
The point is, finding underplayed gems from older sets to compliment the new and exciting cards is a surefire way to spark conversation and break the ice with other players. Everyone has that friend who loves playing cards that instantly get the "hold on...what does that do again?" and the table has to read it together in unison for a bit. I won't go THAT far, but they say variety is the spice of life or whatever it is they say about new stuff. Even though EDHREC shows what other folks are playing, we can use the site to find some lesser known cards too. Digging through the different themes for commanders is helpful, along with any of the other advanced filters we try to show through the content. Considering there are all these great tools available to us, it only makes sense that I should use them myself don't you think?
Resolution #3 - Brew a new commander
Those close to me will tell you that if I am anything, it is a creature of habit. I like my routines and my comfort zone. It's not that I'm unwilling to venture out and try new things; I actually love new experiences. But sometimes it takes actively pursuing that new experience in order to get me there. Magic is no different. I have a Natural Affinity for creature decks and winning through combat. It's just what I do and what I most enjoy. The mostest that is.
Hopefully I get to build a few more decks that use the stack more, or play around with combos and synergies outside of "hurr durr, nice one Matt, Vizier of Remedies is good with Woodfall Primus you're SOOOOO original!" I mean, I would be original but someone beat me to it so shut up, Henry! But I've never built a deck like Gonti, Lord of Luxury deck before. Or a Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge deck. The idea of trying out new things is something I have to be aware of; otherwise I just resort to what I know the best. We all probably do that really though, but just because you find out something new you enjoy doesn't mean you don't like the old stuff, you just have another thing you enjoy!
Resolution #4 - Become a better community member
This admittedly is a little hard to quantify. About year ago, a friend of mine made a comment that I was one of the most critical people they knew. To be honest I kind of did meet everything I didn't like with Stubborn Denial, so going into 2017 I decided that I wanted to make a conscious effort to be more positive in general. I had mixed success throughout the year (it was a challenge when Unstable became Commander legal...) but I did notice having an About Face made me FEEL a little better about life.
For 2018 I want to take that a step further. Instead of just focusing on myself, I want to keep building up the Magic community around me. One of my regular Magic buddies and I recently had a conversation about trying to foster a more positive and healthier local community, which I hope to turn into a better presence in the greater Magic community as well. 2017 had enough drama, arguments, and general negativity that it probably wouldn't hurt to build folks up a bit now and then, too. Part of this could be tied in with my point about enjoying the games more, part of it might just be not taking a big fat dump on something that I don't like or agree with (looking at you again Unstable...). However I do it, I just hope to contribute something more than I have in the past. As long as I still get to make some bad jokes and sarcastic comments that is.
Cheers to 2018
Well folks, enjoy your new dinos and crazy tribal things. The few cards we've seen for Rivals of Ixalan certainly feel splashy. What are your goals for the new year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments and how I could possibly help even! What are you looking forward to the most about Magic in the coming year? Magic Arena? Returning to Dominaria? Let me know in the comments!