You may not realize it, but there are a ton of cards in commander which straight up aren’t worth playing. I’m not even talking about the “I want to play intentionally bad cards” side of things. That’s just lower powered decks, which is fine. What I mean is playing:

This card sucks. I know it’s been a long standard “staple” way back in the early EDH days, but I’m not even convinced it was good back then! First of all, manabases are way tighter now, at any level of play. At higher level, you’re cutting things razor thin with how many lands your playing, so you need as many ways to achieve both your curve, and the correct colors as possible. At lower level, your available lands are pretty garbage, especially when the format tends to be a bit slower as people scrape together ways to get their decks online. Reliquary Tower doesn’t fit well into either of these axes, and typically, if you’re going to play a colorless land, the payoff needs to be worth it. Having no maximum hand size is truly not it, even if your deck has ways of utilizing more cards in your hand.

Most Sweepers

You don’t need to play so many of them. Why does your midrange, creature-based, land-based, aggro-control-fun stuff deck need ways to start your own gameplan over again? Is that part of the plan? To set yourself back?

Stop that!

Sweepers in Commander are fine, sometimes good. It’s good to have cards that could potentially get you back in the game, but often times a sweeper isn’t going to do it. Moreover, if your deck needs sweepers as a failsafe or a way to get back into the game if your plan isn’t going well, then one of three things is true:

  • Your deck’s main plan isn’t good enough.
  • The way your deck executes said plan needs to improve.
  • You were too far behind anyways, and you shouldn’t invest too many card slots into non-games.

It’s okay to lose games, and just because you lost games, doesn’t mean your deck or its plan is flawed. Magic is a game of variance, and adding three more players in the mix adds too many layers to cover. Take your licks, make the right decisions in your deckbuilding, and play as best as you can within your parameters.


Y’all play too many of these.

I could never understand how playing powerful but flimsy creatures is a point of discourse, but powerful and flimsy mana rocks getting removed are also a problem. It’s a contradictory thing that happens, and it only tells me people want to do the powerful thing in their deck, but refuse to invest resources into making sure the powerful thing happens. You don’t need to play so many signets in your deck because it’s way too easy to just stop them in their tracks, even if you get a turn out of them. Moreover, they are absolutely not replacements or supplements for lands, and playing them as that is a sure way to keep your deck from functioning properly sometimes. Clean up your manabase, understand why you’re playing these signets and if you need that many, and make sure you’re not skimping on other things your deck needs.

Colorless Lands

Reliquary Tower is probably one of the biggest offenders, which is why it was separate from this section, but nowadays, I’d be hard pressed to include too many colorless lands in general. The large majority of them aren’t good enough. Having good mana to support ~75% of your decks function, especially as you get into three colors and above, is so incredibly crucial. Like competitive formats, people trying to cut corners on their lands is a tale as old as time. Many will tell you to play more lands, and a lot of times it’s correct; It’s almost always better to flood than screw. But if I can give any piece of advice, on top of playing more lands, is playing the right lands. If your four-color creature deck needs 35 lands to function, but 10 of them are colorless, your deck doesn’t function. If your deck has all the utility in the world through your lands, but most of them enter the battlefield tapped, your deck doesn’t function. Put more thought into why you’re playing the lands your playing, and ask yourself if it’s actually conducive to what your deck wants to do, whether it’s what the actual deck is asking for or if it’s what you’re asking out of the deck.

There’s always more work to be done when it comes to playing, building, and tuning decks. We don’t need to be a Pro Tour-level deckbuilder to do this, but it’s always good to ask yourself questions and see if more can be achieved.

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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