The Emotional Phases Of Playing 'Magic: The Gathering' Commander

Friends become shields become enemies.
The Emotional Phases Of Playing 'Magic: The Gathering' Commander

Warm and Fuzzy Hellos



Oh wow! So glad you decided not to have a family so you could earn enough money to play Magic on a Tuesday night with your friends.

“Hey great to see ya! This is going to be a blast. Oh, you brought beer that’s so nice. Come on in. What are you running tonight?” These cordial words may seem friendly, but they are the first attempts at two opponents sizing each other up.

Getting Comfortable



Yes I know they're playing poker but doesn't that woman doing the fist bump look like Mandy Moore and Sutton Foster had a baby?

You’re getting settled, making last minute tweaks because you realized that the landfall Omnath deck you ran last week didn’t have enough basic lands and you ran out of gas by turn 7. Grab a drink, unfurl your mat, and shuffle. 

I Think I’ve Made A Huge Mistake



You're going to have to get really, really lucky to get out of this fine kettle of fish you absolute dork. Why didn't you think to read everyone's Commander before you started playing. Idiot. 

Looking at the opponents commanders… you realize how screwed you are. Because your opponent's deck is your commander's Achilles heel. Maybe you’ve got a deck that likes counters and your opponent’s running something that prevents counters. Maybe you’re playing Velomachus and your opponent is playing Marisi. (This last part is based on a true and terrible event.) Regardless, you’re already at a huge disadvantage. 

Immediately No



It's not looking good for you. You really needed to draw a land but that didn't happen. Stupid, stupid, STUPID. Well at least you're not alone…

The first turn. Oh good, your opponent cast a turn one Sol Ring into a turn one Arcane Signet. Awesome. This is the moment you realize that you should be running more artifact removal. And that you’re totally screwed.

Hoping Your Community Will Save You



Plead, bargain, collude. Now is the time to make deals and hide behind the strongest player. Maybe they'll take pity on you?

Praise Oketra, it’s a multiplayer game. While you didn’t have any artifact removal, your buddy did. Now your strategy is just to lay low and hope that no one realizes you don’t have any blockers and that you missed your turn four land drop. 



F*ck these friends. You don't even like this group anyways. You can never show your face at the LGS again. FNM is a thing of the past because you're a freaking fake gamer.

Huh, they did notice that you don’t have any blockers. And well how about that, you’re getting attacked for fifteen damage, also known as, getting your ass kicked.

Hope Springs Eternal



Oh my god, you can actually do it. That's right baby! Never give up! Never surrender! Did Obama give up? Hell no. Did Gideon give up? HELL NO. And you're not going to give up. You're going to WIN.

A ray of hope! Someone else at the table board wiped. All non-land permanents are destroyed. No one perceives you as a threat. You could actually pull this thing off!

The Brutality Of War



I have not played a multiplayer game of Commander that doesn't end up deep in Reddit comments searching for a rules interaction in about six years.

Everyone’s a couple drinks deep and dialed in. The banter is at a minimum and the Googling of card interaction on the stack is at a maximum. You’re fighting for every inch, but gaining ground.




Maybe it was a Wrath. Maybe it was Day of Judgement. Hell, maybe it was an overloaded Cyclonic Rift. It doesn't matter. It's just not looking good.

Aaaaand… another board wipe. 




Like Icarus, the Greek myth about a man full of hubris flying too close to the sun on waxen wings, so too did that one friend who ramped too quickly and dared too greatly. 

The first death comes. The player who cast the turn one Sol Ring (even though it got destroyed) made themselves too big a threat and they paid for it. Everyone teamed up on them and now they’re dead. 

Crushed Beneath The Wheel



All is ash. All is dust and darkness and blood red light of dying day. There shall never be another morning for those fallen. There shall never be a song of glory sung for those felled by the axe of total decimation. 

Now that one player has been eliminated, it’s only a matter of time before someone combos off and hits everyone with something ridiculous like gaining infinite life and dealing infinite damage, or Scute Swarming everyone at the same time with fifty thousand million bugs. Yup, there it goes. Your life total flashes in front of your eyes, and the game is over. You never stood a chance.

The Cycle Continues



GG! Yeah, let's go again. Lemme just make a few tweaks really quick… I probably just need more board wipes… 

You started playing at 8pm and it’s 11:30 now… but maybe just one more quick game… 

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