MTG Commander Game


I am BRAND NEW to MTG and the store owner suggested my fiancé and I start with a Commander set. But both of us got very frustrated trying to figure out how to play last night. It seemed like this set was for OG players and we have NO BACKSTORY so…please, save us, ELI5!

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Ok, I’ve been playing magic for years, and, I can personally say, magic is INCREDIBLY fun, but, commander is one of the worst ways to learn how to play the game because your deck is big, and full of 60+ individual unique cards and 30+ lands, making it hard to learn what each card does and why it’s there. I would suggest going back to the store and asking if they have the free intro decks, those are 40 card decks, and have multiples of the same card, and are only one color, so you can just focus on the theme of that color.

Here is a link to an intro video on how MTG works:

In commander, you use the same rules on casting spells, but, your deck is built differently: it has 99 cards, which, except for basic lands, you are only allowed to have 1 of. In addition to your deck, you have your commander, who stays in a special zone called the “command zone” so you can ALWAYS cast your commander to the field, so they’re like a free card outside of your hand. The “colors” of the cards in your deck (shown in the mana cost in the top right) MUST match the colors of your commander, so, if your commander is red and blue, you can only use cards that are red, blue, or both. You cannot use white, green or black cards in that deck.

Commander also has a unique rule called “commander tax.” If, at any time, your commander dies or is exiled, you can choose to send them back to the “command zone” and are allowed to cast them again in the future for their original cost, +2 mana. This effect stacks, so if your commander has died twice, it costs +4 additional mana, then +6, etc.

If you’re looking for a few youtubers to help dip your toes into magic, and specifically commander, “the command zone” is a GREAT channel for learning the basics, and MTG muddstah has great, easy to follow commander gameplay so you can watch what a typical game of commander is like, to get a feel for the game.

I hope this helps, and if you have anymore questions, feel free to ask! 🙂

Commander is an advanced format designed mostly for free-for-all multiplayer, and is set up to be fun in that context. That gives it quite a few mechanics that are different from normal play:

* Large decks (100 rather than 60 cards) which don’t allow duplicates other than basic lands (normally you can have 4 of each card, and you usually want to) to encourage variability to make each game unique
* Larger life totals to make the game last longer
* A commander you can always cast to compensate for the variability of the deck
* Allowing cards from the entire history of MTG, both for nostalgia for older players and to allow some unique combinations of cards. This results in some cards with powerful but odd combinations being in play that are quite confusing for new or even moderately experienced players.

Commander is great fun, but I’d recommend starting with something simpler, especially since Commander is best played with 3+ players. Ideal would be either a set of Duel Decks or one of the theme decks from the current set.