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How to Make Your First Commander Deck

I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for some time, and today I want to share my tricks.

Where to start?

Playing the Commander format of Magic: The Gathering is a great experience for any player and that I highly recommend because it allows us to replay many of our favorite cards and only needs a single copy of each card we play.
The hardest step to overcome is to simply build a deck, while the rest is a downhill road.
For this I will briefly indicate what you will need to build your first deck, then in the various paragraphs we will add the necessary details:
1 Commander
10 Card Advantage
10 Ramp
7 Removals
5 Board Wipes
30 Synergy Cards
37 Lands

1 Commander

The first thing to define in a commander deck is to define who your Commander will be. As commander, you can choose one Legendary Creature card or two Legendary Creatures (both with the "Partner" keyword) or a Planeswalker with the "can be your Commander" ability.
This is extremely important because the style of the deck and which cards will be allowed will depend on it.
In fact, each commander can only play cards in his deck that correspond to his color identity, that is, each colored mana symbol on the commander card determines its Color identity. If the Commander is a double-faced card, both sides contribute to the color identity.

All the following categories have indicative values ​​and therefore can be customized once you become familiar with the specific Commander, as well as there may be cards that fall into different categories, in this case it is up to you to understand how best you will use it and consequently in which category you must enter it.

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Some Commonly used Card Advantage options

Some Commonly used Card Advantage options

10 Card Advantage

The next step is to add 10 cards that can provide card advantage or that can draw cards.
They don't necessarily have to match a specific card type (all instant or all creatures), so we can be free in our choices.
This category of cards is mainly used to feed the deck and not run out of fuel in the most important moments of the game.
For example, black decks aim to sacrifice their creatures to draw additional cards, blue decks mainly use instants and sorceries, green decks do so with large creatures entering the field, etc.
Consider very high those that can be defined as "draw engines" or those cards that can provide cards not only as a single effect but that can be repeatedly used to earn cards during the game.
Among the draw engines you could use cards like Sylvan Library, Beast Whisperer, Skullclamp or even several Planeswalkers.
In this group are also considered tutors (those cards that allow you to search your deck for specific cards), which become extremely important due to the size of the commander decks.
Among the tutors you could use Enlightened Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Mystical Tutor, etc.

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Some Commonly used Ramp options

Some Commonly used Ramp options

10 Ramp

We add 10 cards of the Ramp type, which can help us speed up our subsequent plays, usually in this category often fall cards such as Sol Ring or the Signet of the different guilds of Ravnica due to their ability to be available in each deck .
They usually fit into any deck unless the deck is extremely fast but this doesn't happen very often.
Usually Green is the color that has the most ramp without necessarily having to use artifacts and therefore you could benefit yourself by destroying the artifacts of the opponents or by being faster than them in growing your resources.
Among the colorless Ramp cards we can find Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Chromatic Lantern, etc. While among the green ones we could find Sakura-Tribe Elder, Cultivate, Farseek, etc.

7 Removals

We add 7 removals in order to better manage the opponent's threats.
As removal we can mean both the classic removals (destroy a target creature, etc.) and creatures with effects or other permanents that can remove a certain type of permanent.

If possible, always look for cards with the longest range, such as cards with destroy a nonland permanent.

This category can include both Swords to Plowshares, Beast Within, Assassin's Trophy, Reclamation Sage, Anguished Unmaking, etc.

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Some Commonly used Board Wipes

Some Commonly used Board Wipes

5 Board Wipes

We add 5 Board Wipes to be able to reset the battlefield in case of extreme necessity, as Board Wipes is not intended only as Wrath of God or similar cards that remove creatures but also those that can eliminate certain types of cards such as the removal of Artifacts or Spells or lands.
Of course, as always in Commander, always evaluate the options that offer greater versatility or that can best fill the mana curve.
In this category we can find cards like Supreme Verdict, Austere Command, Merciless Eviction, Damnation, etc.

30 Synergy Cards

One of the last steps to consider is the addition of about 30 cards that take advantage of the synergy with the commander we have chosen.
This slot is among the most variable, since each commander prefers a different type of game, and therefore must be built in relation to the Gameplay we want to implement.
For example, a Voltron deck (a deck that is based on the damage inflicted on the opponent by our commander to win) will have different cards such as Auras or equipment to enhance and at the same time protect the commander. Instead, a commander with a tribal theme (e.g. Elves, Goblins, or any other tribe) will need many creatures of the corresponding type.
Generally this category includes most of the creatures in our deck and usually they should not be less than 25-30 divided into the different categories unless there are particular deck constructions.

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Some Commonly used Lands

Some Commonly used Lands

37 Lands

Finally we add the lands. This step is the last in order as we have to consider all the mana requirements of the cards we have chosen previously and only build the manabase at the end.
Although this step takes place among the latter, it is instead one of the most important as without a correctly built manabase we will not be able to cast our best spells.
In Commander you can also easily add lands with additional effects such as land hate against the opponent or that can bring you additional bonuses such as drawing cards or making one of our creatures unblockable.
Cards like Rogue's Passage, Kessig Wolf Run, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx can be included in this case.

Conclusion

Since the commander format gives you access to virtually 99% of all cards ever printed in the history of Magic: The Gathering don't limit yourself to just a single deck but explore all the best Magic has to offer. Once you've purchased those Staple cards for the format and they can end up in any deck (like Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Lightning Greaves, etc.) you can start indulging in any commander you can think of.
As a bonus tip I tell you to evaluate cards mainly for their versatility and if they can offer alternative casting conditions with increased cost such as cards with X in their mana cost or those spells with Kicker-like effects or manasinks that allow additional effects. In Commander, it's very easy to end up with excess mana, so these cards truly have a chance to shine.

Another possible advice if you are a beginner and it may be difficult for you to find all the basic cards on the secondary market to be able to start playing commander you can always buy one of the introductory decks that for an affordable cost can give you the structure you need. These commander decks cost around 20 - 30 $ but are usually worth a lot more when you also consider the time and number of trades to be done on the secondary market or you want to start playing right away.

Generally I don't recommend them for experienced commander players or those who have access to already quite developed card collections unless these decks already contain a lot of cards they would still like to play or are willing to trade doubles.

© 2021 Christian Allasia

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