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Commander Clash 27: Competitive Commander

Hello and welcome to Commander Clash, a video series where several MTGGoldfish contributors battle in a four player Commander game for fun and bragging rights. This week we're finally delivering on one of the most requested themes and playing Competitive Commander: we're building the meanest, most powerful decks we can muster, with a single goal in mind: winning! We're ditching the usual ~20tix deckbuilding budget as well so we can get our hands on the most powerful cards in the format, including Force of Wills and Gaea's Cradles. Let's see what we've got:

The time has come! Which deck will emerge as the most broken of the broken decks? Will the games even go past Turn 3? Let's find out! But first, a quick reminder: if you like Commander Clash and other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up with the latest and greatest.


Seth's Deck (Teferi)


Richard's Deck (Arcum)


Jake's Deck (Yisan)


Tomer's Deck (Narset)


Post-Game Thoughts

Mana Crypt: Heads Always Wins!

I've had some time to reflect on these games between recording them and putting the article up, but I'm still not sure how I feel about playing Commander in a competitive environment. The initial response amongst the crew was overall negative: variance is high, nut draws can happen for any deck out of nowhere to take them from a losing position to winning the game, and there wasn't enough answers around the table to keep everyone in check. Games end fast.

I'm a bit more optimistic for this style of Commander, however. My gut feeling is that the real problem was that we had three Combo decks and only one Stax deck at the table, and the Stax deck (Teferi) had bad draws both games. Seth points out that perhaps with a decent draw, his deck could've dropped a lockdown piece (e.g. Static Orb, Winter Orb) before the rest of the table went off and that would've kept explosive plays in check. I believe that would have been the case if we played more games: Stax is well-positioned to control a multiplayer board because their resource denial are global effects and should chew out Combo decks. But then comes a following question: what happens if we have a ton of Stax at the table instead of Combo? That would lead to equally unappealing games. What's the answer to that? Aggro? Is that a real thing in Competitive Commander?

Another contributor to our negative impression, I think, was our lack of experience with these decks: we build new decks each week for the series and often the games you see are the first times we've ever played with the decks. We're not going to play as well as someone who has played dozens of games with the same list. This is especially the case with these competitive decks, which for the most part we didn't even build ourselves—about half each deck is made up of tutors for unknown cards. So maybe we did have access to answers that we just didn't know about. It's hard to say. That doesn't mean we'd suddenly enjoy playing this style of Commander, but maybe we'd dislike it a bit less.

Playing with high-powered cards was probably my favorite part of this whole thing: the only time I get to cast Mana Drain and Timetwister is when Holiday Cube returns to Magic Online. There's a thrill about playing with these $100+ cards when 99% of your Magic experience is casting cards that are under $2. I don't know if I want to scratch that itch with Competitive Commander, or just go play Vintage and/or Legacy instead, but it was definitely fun to play with some of the best cards ever printed.

Of course, just because the crew didn't like their first taste of Competitive Commander doesn't mean this style is "wrong" or "bad," or any of that nonsense. The "Casual vs. Competitive" debate that rages endlessly on forums is silly and pointless: Magic can be played any way you want and it's up to you to find out your favorite ways of playing it. That's how it's always been and how it always will be.

Let us know your thoughts about this week's Clash! If you enjoyed it and want to see more Competitive Commander, we'll deliver. If not, let us know that too!


Next Week: Flipwalkers From Magic Origins!

As always, we encourage you to leave us a comment on this article, on YouTube, or on Twitter @BudgetCommander. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, be it thoughts on the game, ideas on how to improve the series, or suggestions for future themes; we read all of them and bring them up in discussions. Thanks for watching!

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