I need to put Nekusar on hold for a week, because shockingly it’s the present-giving season and people occasionally ask me what to buy for their casual friends. I can help with this! In fact, I’ll make it so easy that you can just click on a link and the nice website at the other end will be waiting to receive your order. It’s that simple! So, without further hand-waving or distraction, here are my suggestions:


1) Dragon Shield Sleeves – $10

Sleeves aren’t the most exciting of gifts, but I would say a good 95% of the Commander player base uses them. It’s hard to shuffle 99 unsleeved cards, and given enough time even the best sleeves start to look worn and ragged. A box of these, in a color of significance to the Commander player in your life, ensures they have the freedom to keep their deck fresh or expand into a new one.


2) Holiday Gift Box – $20

Commander card collections tend to include a bunch of important single cards. Without a proper organizational system, that can easily get out of hand. One of the ways to get around that is to keep all your valuable and important singletons organized into a solid, reliable box. THIS IS THAT BOX. It doesn’t come with sufficient dividers for either the space or the ridiculous number of stickers, but you can always supplement those with top-loaders ($5 add-on item on Amazon) if you really need to keep them separated.


3) Deck Builder’s Toolkit – $17

This might seem like an odd inclusion, since the cards aren’t particularly valuable and no one really seeks these things out, but! It turns out that the special box that is included with the Deck Builder’s Toolkit is the perfect size to fit three Commander decks and some tokens. So you’re basically paying for a snazzy and colorful travel/storage box that happens to also include all the basic removal spells, four packs, and enough basic land to satisfy anyone’s needs. Sounds like a bargain!


4) Ultra Pro Magnetic Flip Box – $15

If the player you’re buying for is the type who specializes in an individual deck, rather than mixes it up with a bunch of them, this line of deck boxes is a traditional treat. While they occasionally have gluing issues (rectifiable, but caveat emptor), these are basically the première individual deck boxes, and they have room for a single sleeved Commander deck in each of them. Plus, you can color code them based on decks or color preference of the recipient, which gives you a rainbow of possibilities.


5) Pound-O-Dice – $20

Chessex is the primary dice supplier for Magic the Gathering players, and Commander players traditionally need more dice than most. Whether it’s two d10s to keep track of your life, a bunch of d6s to sprinkle +1/+1 counters across your board, or a d12 to keep track of one of your planeswalkers, Commander players really need some decent die solutions. Luckily, if you get your Commander player a pound of dice, they will probably never need to buy dice again! That’s right, a pound of dice is more than a person could ever reasonably need, and for that reason it makes a great, amusing gift. Plus, throw in some of these $4 Velour Dice bags, also by Chessex, and they can keep a more reasonable subset of those dice with them when they go to play. Pound it!


6) 100 Perfect Fit Sleeves – $7

I may hate the things, but the reality is that a lot of EDH decks are full of expensive cards and those cards can be better protected if you’re doubling up on sleeves. See, you sleeve your deck first in perfect sleeves, with the opening on the bottom, and then you wedge them into Dragon Shields with the opening at the top, and this makes it super hard for you to accidentally water damage your cards. It also makes it harder to switch out your cards in the deck and whatnot, but that’s my problem, not necessarily yours. Anyway, this is a type of support gift that generally will be well received by the paranoid player in your life.


7) MtG Playmats – $15-25

The Godless Shrine playmat is just an example, not necessarily the only one you should get. Poke around! But basically, it’s nice to play on a playmat. Commander board states often get super complicated, and having clear boundaries is a boon. But! The bigger benefit that a playmat gives you is the freedom to play in a bar or restaurant. Sometimes tables are sticky. Commander, being the most social format, is the type of game that plays well with a few friends in a booth in a bar, or restaurant, or this wonderful little pool hall near West 4th. Unlike bigger tournaments, you don’t need to go to a specifically nerdy store to find some action. You just need some friends, and a place to play, and a playmat helps make any space into a play space.


8) MtG Card Album – $35

When you get a card album, don’t forget you’ll also need to stock it with pages, available from the same online retailer, but typically purchased separately. Often, Magic players use these types of binders to manage a stock of trades, which is fine and a useful tool in the Commander player’s arsenal. (Side note: don’t buy the Commander’s Arsenal, it is seriously not worth the money it costs) But if your friend or loved one is the type to enjoy rare cards or foils, a binder allows for a secondary use of keeping all their valuable cards in mint condition. Foils in particular do well in a binder, because the sleeve keeps tension against their constant desire to warp, and their shiny coating is less likely to be scuffed when there’s that layer of protection. Plus, a foil book is a stunning thing to behold. If you’re a little unsure about buying a binder on the internet, since there’s some variance in stability and what have you, you can also find these near the checkout at your local Target, or really at any office supplies store around. Just, make sure the sleeve pages fit before you make that purchase. I’m not 100% sure of the different sizing scales for binders, although I imagine there’s a lot of overlap between Magic binders and their scholastic counterparts.


9) From the Vault: Legends – $100

If your budget is a little higher, and the person you’re shopping for likes premium cards, consider getting them one of the From the Vaults set of foil cards. Specifically, this one, From the Vault: Legends. In the set are 15 different shiny commanders, in a wide variety of different color options. You have truly viable commanders for four of the five colors (I’ve never been impressed with Mikeaus, the Lunarch as a white Commander, but it’s at least there as a fifth color choice), Bant, Jund, and Esper shards, a Junk general, a Dimir General, and a Selesnya general. But wait, there’s more! This set also gives two of the more interesting Commander deck options: a five-color general in promo Progenitus, and a colorless commander in Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. So this is a good package to broaden the deck options for a loved or valued member of your gift-giving ring. And hey, worst case scenario three of the cards in there are particularly valuable (Kiki-Jiki, Ulamog, and Progenitus), and that should give a boost to their trade binder as well.


10) Commander 2013 Set of 5 Decks – $170

How could I not end with a plug for this fine set of five decks? Because the more time I’ve spent with them, the more I’ve grown to like their charms (Marath included, no matter how frustrated that deck has been making me). These decks are great, and they’re good no matter where on the Commander scale a person falls. Plus, there’s a fair amount of trade fodder in these things, whether it’s the Legacy-adopted True-Name Nemesis or Baleful Strix, or the utility cards like all the Sol Rings, Command Towers, and Opal Palaces. So, this gift, while pricey, gives your Commander-loving giftee a lot of fun and a lot of value. If this is in your price range, it would make a great gift. But don’t take my word for it, take my word for it!


Anyway, that’s my idea of a good set of gifts for someone in your life who loves the Commander side of playing Magic the Gathering. Or EDH, or what-have-you. I tried to keep the suggestions within a reasonable budget, because Commander shouldn’t be as expensive as most of the other formats, although I know it very well can be in some play groups. Still, I hope this gift guide is helpful in the week until Consumerist Christmas, and at all other times since most of this stuff is pretty universal. I hope you enjoyed this, and Merry Holidays!


Jess Stirba is a Brooklyn-based player who fell in love with Commander back when it was EDH. She also maintains a Pauper Cube, and is occasionally lured back to more competitive formats. She writes weekly on topics of interest to the Commander crowd. Also, she is one of those people who opt-out of the whole Facebook thing, so if you really want to engage with her, try addressing @jlina on Twitter. She’s much more responsive there!

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