Spreading the Love — Getting Your Significant Other to Play
Kya here once again to spread more love across the EDH community!
Being a female player, Magic: the Gathering can be an... interesting experience to say the least. I know there has been plenty of drama over the last week, but this article doesn't deal with that topic. I'm sure many are tired of seeing the subject continuously brought up. Instead of focusing on the negative, I wanted to answer one common question I often get asked across various game shops and online:
"How do I get my significant other to play with me?"
Granted this question is most often asked by men inquiring on what they can do to get their girlfriend or wife to play. However, the answer is honestly probably the same regardless of gender. Despite what many think, I've noticed that ladies in the Magic community are not all that different than anyone else. We're just a rarity. So let's dive in on some methods that I've found that work wonders on getting others to play, so my gender can stop being the Prized Unicorn at the table.
Please note that I'm not including the precons in this article, with the exception of some very light mentions. Depending on the situation, I do recommend precons to newer players. However this article's aim is slightly different, since we're focusing on your significant other. I find that the precons are usually too slow and "soft" for many signifiant others already hesitant to join you for EDH. These suggestions can be a little pricey, but they're worth it when your significant other becomes more enthusiastic about the game than you are.
So why Elder Dragon Highlander?
Some might wonder why this sort of topic is on EDHREC. Well, because in my humble opinion, EDH is one of the best formats for getting someone into Magic. If you were genuinely interested in this article, that probably means you know someone who is on the fence about playing this game. Because it is a multiplayer format, it can be far more appealing for those less interested in Magic at first glance. Treating an EDH game similarly to a board game, you can entice your significant other to join in on the fun by sitting at the table with everyone else to share laughs and the political nonsense that this format provides.
Furthermore, EDH provides another fun aspect that other formats do not, the commander! Although the mechanic can be a tad bit confusing at first, having a mascot for your deck further increases the appeal. You know your significant other better then me, but here are a few ideas for their first commander.\
When Angels Deserve to ... Murder!
Aurelia, the Warleader is a fine example of someone's first commander. Every girl can appreciate this fiery angel of vengeance! She can easily tear up the battlefield without being too difficult to run. Of course Boros is not known for being over powered by any means. However the colors are easy to manage for a newer player. Despite popular opinion, I always suggest a dual-colored commander over a mono-colored commander for a newer player. It sits just right on an individual to learn the mana aspect of the game and what they need to cast a certain spell. Two generic mana, two red, and two white are involved without being overwhelming.
Finally she has extra mechanics that make her mascot worthy without over complicating the game. Flying, vigilance and haste are amazing keywords that are simple enough but have real impact. Plus, having double combat phases makes your significant other excited to play her as they build up their mana.
This is completely optional, but if you want to take it a step further, every girl loves her accessories:
Yes the swords are hard to find or expensive to order online. However, that's half the point. If able, having small luxuries such as these in a deck are somewhat of a bragging point for your significant other and encourages them to take pride in the ownership of their deck. Granted this is from personal experience, but finally obtaining the full set for my deck brought me a lot of joy. Tossing these enchanted pokers onto Aurelia adds up to a lot of power that quickly gets out of hand.
Finally, although it's leading them down a very dark and evil path... it wouldn't hurt to add an Armageddon into their deck. Every new player I've gotten to play EDH always found joy in everyone's shock and horror when throwing this card onto the table. Another small addition would be the famous Boros Charm and any board wipe. These sorts of synergies are a nice stepping stone to getting your significant other better at Magic.
Okay, so I mentioned boys and girls are the same, then provided a female mascot right off the bat. So here's a more neutral option for you. Omnath, Locus of Rage is another deck I often lend out to newer players. It's always been a vastly positive experience for those playing it, and I'm often told it becomes one of their favorites. Playing Gruul is another easy color combination for newer players to understand. Being a large mana costed creature, your significant other gets to also enjoy the anticipation of playing this game-changing creature as their mana grows. Also being a landfall deck, 7 mana comes quickly enough. Also in the off chance that Nommy gets countered, he quickly comes back with a fury as lands are not an issue.
Plus his mechanic is simple enough. Play a land, something every player wants to do anyway, and get a big bad giant creature free of charge! Someone kills your creatures? Well your significant other will enjoy the wonderful feeling of spite as they continuously bolt that person into oblivion.
The best part about our favorite Kool Aid guy? He can be super budget. Although it helps, you can avoid without fear expensive fetches and Doubling Season. Here is another thing about my Omnath deck I absolutely love:
As a self-imposed rule, I make it a point to shove a Planeswalker into every deck I own. This deck actually had 3 in it, and they're fairly cheap despite the help they provide Nom-Noms. I strongly suggest adding at least one, so your significant other feels the joy of owning one along with everyone else.
There are dozens of other mascot options to choose from for someone's first deck, so I'll leave these last two examples. A small shout out to Meren of Clan Nel Toth, another cool female mascot with a great ability. Plus she's amazing out of the box. Using the commander's tab on EDHREC is another great option for getting your significant other more involved in the selection process and helps them decide their starting commanders and colors. If my opinion is worth anything to you though, keep in mind the trend I've already set with just these two commanders:
- Simple dual colors but high cost commanders with good effects.
- Game changing spells like board wipes.
- A small collection inside their deck that gives them some pride of ownership.
Therapist Kya's Guide to a Happy EDH Relationship
Well mad scientist didn't work out well for my neighbors...so now I'm a therapist! Since we have some good mascot ideas for your significant other's first commander, let's dive into the other important aspects of turning them into a full-fledged Planeswalker. Here are a few simple tricks to committing a perfect Mindslaver on them without them even being aware:
- As mentioned loosely before, if they are turned off by trading card games (TCGs) in general, do not treat it as such. Again EDH already provides a welcoming environment due to being multiplayer. You're not sitting across from an individual with this anxiety of winning and fear of losing. You're gathered around a table with others, enjoying everyone's company. The simple difference in this approach alone can yield slightly more interest out of someone.
- Invite some spellslinging friends over to your house and get your significant other to play with you. The comfort of your own home and established friends beats the random and sometimes intimidating experience you might find at your local game store. After some experience with this, then we can step into the stores together to find poor victims to crush!
- Make a big deal out of everything they do! This is probably my best advice on what to do if they start playing to keep them continuing. Over exaggerating your significant other's spells in a positive way makes a BIG difference. Did they play a simple Mirran Crusader? That thing has double strike and protection against black and green! Oh no that thing is going to start hurting! They play a Sakura-Tribe Elder? Here comes the ramping shenanigans! Making them feel as they have a presence on the field is critical in keeping them engaged. Oh and when they play that Armageddon? OH GOD NOOOOOOOO!!!!
- Do not gang up on the newbie! I shouldn't have to say this, but if someone Doom Blade's your significant other's commander, don't add to the lynching if they try to summon it again next turn. This goes completely against number 3. No one is asking you to white knight your significant other (because that will get on your friend's nerves), but use some middle ground common sense to keep your significant other happy.
- This one is probably going to get some negative feedback, but for the love of all that's good, let them win. Not always, but letting them win often despite having answers is easy mode for getting them to keep playing. Much like how the parent lion fakes its injuries to encourage the cub into being a better hunter than it is, building your s.o.'s confidence during games is critical to getting them to play. Yes, as they get more advanced and more accustomed to playing, you can slowly let reality set in. However do not start curb stomping them right out the gates because you feel this is the best way to get them "good". What's that famous expression? You can be right or you can be happy? I'm sure you let a lot of things go in your relationship, Magic the Gathering shouldn't be different for the first bit of it.
- A common mistake I see a lot of couples make is when the more experienced player becomes upset if the other targets or attacks them. Keep in mind that in any new social setting or event, you are your s.o.'s comfort zone. They might feel uncomfortable targeting anyone outside of you as they are new to the game. I've sadly seen quite a number of mini fights with couples when this happens, since the more experienced person is typically trying to convince their newer counterpart to help them win. I've been guilty of it myself plenty of times, and I can't express how wrong I was.
- This is a final don't that gets on everyone's nerves, especially females. Do not take forever on your turn or invite people who do the same! If she's looking at her phone more often then anything else while you're playing, it's game over. This is why I strongly suggest the Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder pre-con as an exception to my 2 color rule. 4 colors can be a bit much, but the turns for a Yiddy player are long and powerful. As a general rule, if your significant other is doing more than you on average per turn, you're in the green.
This was some general advice that's comes from both my experience starting out, and what I've seen and done to get others to play with me. I've had many people, both male and female, who had no interest in Magic start playing religiously because of these general guidelines. These tips are NOT made to make a good player, which is probably the issue some people will have. They are designed to make a player, period. After you get that done you can then work on making him/her good.
Partners for Life
Now let's say you tried all the above and your significant other still does not have any interest in playing. Of course sometimes you have to respect that Magic simply isn't for them, but there's one more last ditch effort to get them somewhat involved in the game...making a couples deck! Just in time for the holidays too!
Thanks to a fairly recent addition to our EDH arsenal, we now have the option of having more than one commander. A commander to represent you and your significant other. Assuming your group would allow, you could take turns every other turn playing your deck or have them assist you in making decisions. This helps them get involved into the game without the full dedication. Who knows, maybe they'll join eventually after a quick recommendation here or there. Here is an example of how to turn your EDH deck into something truly magical.
Their story begins as most do. A quiet little forest girl meets a boorish mustache hunk of a man. What would normally cause violent dismay across the plane instead sparks a magical night of passion... and thus babies are born!
Look how cute they are! A mustachioed saproling army armed with nothing but a deep hatred for all! Are you afraid? You should be, because these saprolings will murder all those who cross their path!
This deck was actually originally my Uril, the Miststalker deck. However being the amazing girlfriend that I am, I decided to turn it into a loving couples deck as a gift. What originally became an enchantment Voltron deck became a Voltron deck with tokens! Will Tana kill you with commander damage? Will Bruse do the job? Will my babies finish their parents work? It's your choice, but one is going to end you!
So how does this work? Well Tana, the Bloodsower by herself is okay. A four mana 2/2 with trample that makes saprolings doesn't sound all that great on its own; however when Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder comes out next turn, that 2/2 gets double strike and creates even more babies! What's more, Tana even grants life! That may sound good and all, but let's take it a step further!
Now that's frighting. Imagine Eldrazi Conscription on Tana. With Bruse that's 24 damage with trample, 24 life and 24 babies! Yeah, the guy across the table is now dead, but his sacrifice assisted in growing your family. Pile on Sigil of the Nayan Gods and Tana continues to grow. This is what love looks like! There are plenty of other enchantments that provide additional power and much needed evasion and Uril was fortunate in having.
Now this is one of my more casual decks that is not group hug or chaos, but here are a few additions to make those little babies into a full-fledged army of doom:
And thus the story ends, as all my favorite ones do, with a horrible agonizing end for my foes! Yes they're not instant speed, but what's the fun in that? Let them look at the horrors in front of them as your babies stand mighty among the front line. Allow your enemies a few moments of silence so they can make peace with their god.
Finally here are a few other valuable cards, that may not end the game, but their contributions are amazing:
These cards are all fairly self-explanatory, but Breath of Fury is a little tricky. If played right, you can put this naughty enchantment on any saproling you know is going to connect. You can repeat this process with as many creatures as you can without worry since Tana just keeps making more! If you can give your team haste, it gets even better! Just keep in mind that you HAVE to connect, so ensure some poor foolish soul is open to keep taking the little chomps while everyone else dies. Also I added in an Umbra to show off the powerful effect of totem armor. Despite being one of the weaker ones, 3 mana for protection and drawing cards is nothing to sneeze at!
Now the only thing this deck is missing is doubling token generators like Doubling Season, Parallel Lives and Anointed Procession. However the speed you generate tokens is usually fast enough, with a massive pump spell being what you need for that glorious swing. I have these cards in other decks that need it slightly more.
Below is the complete list of my couples deck. It's a bit of a mess as it was a conversion deck, but I hope it generates some good ideas for you!
Love is in the AirView on Archidekt
I hope you enjoyed this rich dive into getting your significant other to join in on some EDH festivities. Another good deck alternative is also my group hug deck from my previous article. I promised I'd make a slightly more serious deck this time around so didn't make a lengthy mention of it. Despite trying to not focus on just the female community in this article, I did want to stress that the best thing you can do to keep us playing is to just treat us like everyone else. There's absolutely zero need to treat us special, because we just want to play the game like everyone else. Except of course, if you target me.
If you've had any successful instances of getting your significant other to play I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let everyone know other good methods for inviting others to Magic: the Gathering. As always, if you disagree with what I wrote don't be shy and -
Lots of love,
PS: I now have an overwhelming desire on wearing my Xena outfit the next time I play Aurelia. Thank you Internet.