I got contacted yesterday by a friend who wanted to see if I was available for EDH. Since the Humble Bundle/Winter Steam sale, I’ve been entertaining myself at home with lots of games purchased cheaply that work with my 360 controller. Going out to meet people to play card games in winter hasn’t been a top priority for a while. Since I wanted to play, but didn’t want to go outside with a large stack of cards, I invited my buddy over so he could play at my home. We have a room with a large table, and the stockpile of cards I have that I would gladly trade, but can’t haul anywhere is large. My wife allowed it. I asked her because if  I am hanging out playing cards she is ultimately will have to watch the kids for a few hours.

I got ready by putting together some specific decks that hadn’t gotten much play that I wanted to trade for before he arrived. I’ve scrapped a few of my unsuccessful decks, and went about looking at what I needed to “fix” the decks I already had constructed. I am also getting more interested in the cube format these days, but do not have the cards to support it either. I’m not looking to expand my card collection, but rather consolidate it into higher quality cards for specific niches.

After going through several of my decks, I found that while I had themes and synergies, I often lacked ways to play unfair and put forth an overwhelming advantage that shut my opponents out from the game. Depending on how long a game goes on, when everyone is on parity the game can become either more fun as the political element of multiplayer becomes more important, or extremely boring as the board fills with so many cards that no one can manage everything. If you can play a combination of cards that answers threats but doesn’t change the board enough, the game will stall. This is my biggest peeve of the format. I want something to happen every round, if possible. Swings of life, relative board position, and lots and lots of combat.

Today was an atypical day, as we were playing one on one, and the majority of my decks were entirely new to my opponent. A large majority of the decks had never been constructed before in their current forms, and I was seeking feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. The majority of my decks “had gas” and were always threatening to win the game at some point, but a one was really slow and needed improvement. I have enough good decks that I could fill a table with players if I wanted to share cards. I don’t really keep up with new Magic releases now beyond a few niche formats (reading about how to build Cube, and increasingly by watching Legacy tournaments online), but it is still fun to find some winning combos in a pile of (jank) cards.

My one time obsession with EDH isn’t what it once was, but the format retains enough quirks and surprises that I can still find some time for someone that is willing to come over to hang out for a while.