How important is originality when building a casual Commander deck? The pull, or pressure, to make your deck a unique snowflake filled with ideas no one has thought of can be a very real deck building concern for a Commander player. Things like net decking or the dreaded label of “good stuff” can turn a deck, at least for me, from being something enjoyable to pilot to a deck box that doesn’t get opened. What if instead of being so focused on being original, we instead focused on just having fun?
Being Original is Important
Don’t get me wrong, an original deck list is something to appreciate. This is one of the reasons that playing Commander with people you don’t know can be so much fun. You get to see all kinds of things. I’ve seen Weatherlight saga theme sets. I’ve seen a Karador enchantress deck. I’ve played a game with three Oros, the Avenger decks which were all drastically different. People come with fun decks and they are something that helps make the game a story worth telling, something every Commander game should strive for.
But it Isn’t Everything
However, original deck lists are not the only reason to play Commander. There’s nothing wrong with playing the legend of the quarter. If you think Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice looks fun, there’s nothing wrong with building one. This is true even if your playgroup already has one floating around. If you are building a deck that is both fun to pilot and play against, it doesn’t necessarily matter if your deck is a brand new snowflake. There is nothing wrong with using something like EDHREC.com to look for ideas for your deck, or even just use the random deck list function. You may not want this to be your only Commander deck, but it is okay even if it is. We play games, the Commander variant in particular, to have fun. Don’t be afraid to build something fun.
Quick Note of Caution
While there is nothing wrong to build a deck that already exists in your local playgroup, there is may be issue in straight copying the list. Instead of building a 95+ card mirror of a friend’s deck, ask to borrow it. As long as you aren’t aggressive with their cards, they’ll probably be okay with it. This doesn’t apply at all if it’s someone you don’t play with regularly in person. There’s nothing wrong with contacting someone on Twitter or at a GP to see their list and building it for your local LGS.
Building an original Commander is something to strive for. It can be a lot of fun to pick a abnormal Commander or take the road less taken in direction of the deck. Uncovering random gems for a deck can push your deck building abilities and keep your opponent on your toes. However, don’t let being original stop you from having fun. Popular legendary creatures are popular for a reason. Don’t be afraid from building something other people have done in the interest of having a good time.
Until next time, happy brewing
– Cowboy Kyle