EDH IMHO: Collaboreighteen

We have all been there.

Untap. Upkeep. Draw.

It starts out innocuously enough.

But then…


A Brainstorm here, A Gitaxian Probe there

Eventually you are begging for the sweet escape of death, which usually resembles something like this.

All done? Nope.


Welcome to EDH: IMHO. A diverse haven for passionate, casual weirdos who want to create stories with their friends through a game of Commander!

This is the second article in a four-part examination of the kind of questions we want to be asking when it comes to the kind of commander games we want to have.

Last week we learned to ask your play group: How do you want your games to end? For you and your friends, what is a satisfying conclusion to a game of magic? When you answer this question, it helps the group create more games that match everyone’s ideals of what constitutes FUN magic.


This week, our question is this

Question #2:
How interactive should our games

In other words…..Are you playing with yourself?

No no! Get your mind out of the gutter! Bad reader! Bad, dirty, reader!

What I’m actually talking about is, how does your group feel when a turn just goes….OFF? How do they feel about long, extended turns, like the one described above?

Now, for some of you, that kind of turn is the stuff of legends. You LOVE plays like this. You love to see how different cards from magic’s past interact to create insane scenarios for your benefit.

And you’re in luck! The great thing abut commander is that if you and your playgroup all think this is awesome, by all means, queue up them turns!

But for for others, myself included, waiting for one of these turns to end feels something like this.


Remember, the theme of this series is talk.

The key is to have discussion with your playgroup. How do they feel about turns like these. Roughly how long is a tolerable amount of time to wait for the next turn?

Eventually, this kind of discussion will lead to the single most egregious cause of long-turn-waiting. That’s right, the EDH curse word itself:

Extra turns!

Getting an extra turn, in many commander decks, is the beginning of the end. If someone gets one extra turn, it usually means no one else is getting another turn at all.

Even when it doesn’t just end the game, these cards can be annoying. In multiplayer, each person is already waiting longer than they may be used to if they’ve only played 1-on-1. To take an extra turn is to essentially skip every single person you are playing with. You may just be excluding everyone else at the table.

Personally, this is why our playgroup encourages each other not to include extra turn cards. This way, everyone has a turn coming up, the game keeps moving, and everyone feels like they have something to do, or that their untap step is right around the corner. Extra turns were just never for us.

No matter where your group’s discussion goes, a good question to ask might be this: Is this awesome more than once?

Without a doubt, a cool interaction like the one above is amazing the first time you see it. Second time around…how does it feel?

Does it feel like you just might be….playing with yourself?

As always, allow me to remind you that everything I’m saying is just my opinion. (It’s not called EDH IMH-FACT, after all.) If your playgroup is on the same page, and these kinds of cards/games don’t bother your group, go for it. The nature of casual magic is that you have the opportunity to shape the story of your games with your friends: all you need to do is talk about it.

Storm is cool. Extra turns are cool, too. But when you build a deck around them, you decrease the interaction that can happen in a great game of commander. For me, that’s the problem with extended combos: eventually, its just goldfishing with your friends watching.

And I don’t want to goldfish. I want to collaborate.



  1. I’ve shifted over the years in the way I enjoy games and want them to transpire. My original two edh decks were Arcum Dagsson and Jhoira of the Ghitu (yes, I was THAT guy). Now all my decks want to win through combat, and I play removal over countermagic. I want games to ebb and flow in each player’s favor. It’s much more fun for me that way.

    Also, agreed. Time Stretch and company are pure evil. 😆

    1. My story with the format is very, very similar. Two weeks from now I’ll have a column discussing removal vs. counters, so you should enjoy that. Thanks for the comment!

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