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July 17, 2017

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Interaction Packed Games

Does your Commander deck view your opponents as obstacles to your sweet game of solitaire? Try out some of these options to make your games more dynamic and interactive!

Commander is a very social game. So much of the game play is the political discussions and deals between players. Let’s think about some cards and mechanics that take advantage of that to ensure that all your games are highly interactive. Let’s spend more time actually playing Commander rather than playing Candy Crush on our phone while we wait for our turn.

There will always be a “more powerful” version of most of these cards. That’s not the goal here. I’m going to go over some cards that make games more interesting by way of involving your opponents more. Some of the cards might help everyone equally, but don’t ignore the value in the favours!

When there are more lands out, more spells are being cast. This means more stuff happening. Here are some cards that get that ball rolling for everybody equally – approximately. Collective Voyage is a great way to help out everyone. Who wouldn’t take a couple extra lands? In fact, many people would be willing to chip in a bit to get even more. And if your opponents mostly only run nonbasics and don’t care to help, that’s our advantage.

Clear the Land is an interesting one in that it could easily help an opponent more than you, but on average, it’s a ramp spell for everyone. Earn some brownie points with this one. And although it’s less efficient than a Cultivate, Recross the Paths clashes with one opponent. Clash is Scry 1 in disguise. Who wouldn’t want that? Plus, if you win, you get to keep casting it.

One of the most exciting parts of our format is deciding when to turn on a temporary teammate! But you can’t have that without teammates to turn on! Humble Defector is a convenient way to draw two cards if you don’t have access to Blue cards, and with a teammate, you can keep trading custody of this little fella all game until it’s time to break the team up.

Rainbow Vale is an interesting one. Although you’ll never get it back if they don’t use it, that means they aren’t getting much use out of it themselves. Then there’s Skullwinder. Is it strictly worse than Eternal Witness? Not if you can convince an opponent to use something they get back to further your teamed-up cause!

It’s probably best to accelerate games as well. The best parts of any game of Commander happen after people are getting set up, so why not get there quicker? Not to mention, you could squeeze in more games in an evening. Oath of Lieges ramps everyone pretty consistently. Once it starts, it often keeps working around and around the table. And Selvala, Explorer Returned uses the Parley mechanic to get us more mana, while everybody draws more cards. And I think every deck deserves a Throne of the High City because there’s no better mechanic to make games of Commander have more action than the Monarch. Those Conspiracy sets have really given us a lot of good stuff!

Let’s look at a few cards that push action, but not necessarily in everybody’s favour equally. Mana Cache is fascinating to me. If you’re to the left of a Blue player, this is likely fantastic. It pushes people to tap out, making others’ turns simpler, or give the next player lots of extra mana to do lots of extra things. Win – win.

Split Decision has always caught my eye, but mainly when one opponent is doing something to another opponent. Until now, you weren’t involved, but let’s get in there! I vote copy, the “victim” will vote counter. The original caster has a real test on their hands if we’re friendly or not. And finally, I’ve fallen in love at first sight with Chain of Acid. What an amazing game of chicken that would be. Especially if you have a Faith’s Reward in hand.

These are a few ideas to push your decks to be a bit more interactive, and feel less like they do when you’re goldfishing them at home. All in all, I do believe this makes for better games. What are some of your favourite interactive cards? Please let me know in the comments here!