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1.08.2010

Building An EDH

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EDH ? You may have heard of it - this is an acronym for 'Elder Dragon Highlander', a fun singleton constructed format meant for multi-player games, but can also be played head to head. We became interested in this format (just a week or so ago) because we are all about casual magic play and we also happened to have a bunch of older cards on hand collecting dust. The beauty of this game is the vast range of choices one has - more specifically, thousands of choices. The other great thing about EDH is that one does not need to collect expensive deck sets - just 'one-offs' which may be easily done ever time you open up a booster pack or peruse the dollar-rare bin at your MTG store.

We had scraped together a very simple deck (which, with your assistance we will improve) and had our very first game just yesterday. We were, of course, slaughtered BUT, not only did we have fun, we deeply appreciated the other players were very helpful in teaching us how to play and provide some tips to us. Before we show you what EDH deck we pulled together for our very first game, here is a brief summary of how to play this game.


An EDH deck must have a legendary creature as it's "general," and can be built using only colorless cards or cards of the general's colors. Note that split and hybrid cards count as both colors for deck construction purposes, and spells with off-color activated abilities cannot be played unless the off-color activated abilities are the general's color. Any card which generates multiple colors of mana cannot generate mana outside the colors of it's general. If a card would generate mana outside it's general's colors, it generates colorless mana instead. Players may choose any legendary creature (there is over 300 choices for you) as their general. The general is placed face-up in the command zone before mulligans are declared.


An EDH deck must contain exactly 100 cards, general included, typically with no sideboards. The cards may consist of Vintage legal cards and with the exception of basic lands, no two cards in the deck may have the same English name. There is a suggested 'banned list' which may be found on www.dragonhighlander.net and your local club may have other cards which may be prohibited to play. Just use Wizards Gatherer card database to seek out the best cards for inclusion in your deck.


EDH gameplay is like normal Magic in most ways, but it varies in a few key aspects. For example, both players start with 40 life instead of the usual 20. This leds to longer games, but they are still quite fun and interactive for both players. Due to the large deck size, players are allowed one "free" mulligan to compensate for any draws your deck may have given you. Your general starts in the 'command zone' - a place legally removed from the game. Anytime you could normally play a creature, you may play your General from the Romved-from-game zone by paying its mana cost. If a general would be put into a graveyard or exile from anywhere, its owner may choose to move it to the command zone instead. Every time your general is played again increases its cost by 2 colourless mana. A player dealt 21 combat damage by a single general loses the game.

Some references for you to read further -
http://forum.dragonhighlander.net/EDH_Forum
http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/forumdisplay.php?f=377

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Here is our premier deck which we hope, with your help, to improve. As mentioned before, there are a lot of choices to be had and we expect this deck will be forever changing as we tweak it or come across awesome cards to include . . .

As you can see, we went very simple with our first deck and developed an mono-white soldier build:

Darien, King of Kjeldor (General), Trusty Machete, Akrasan Squire, Goldmeadow Harrier, Soul Warden, Cenn's Tactician, Elite Vanguard, Coordinated Barrage, Piety Charm, Unified Strike, Brave the Elements, Harm's Way, Path to Exile, Dolmen Gate, Veteran's Armaments, Aven Squire, Ballyrush Banneret, Kazandu Blademaster, Kor Aeronaut, Honor of the Pure, Militia's Pride, Shared Triumph, Pacifism, Weight of Conscience, Temporal Isolation, Journey to Nowhere, Pollen Lullaby, Redeem the Lost, Whispersilk Cloak, Kithkin Zephyrnaut, Veteran Swordsmith, Field Marshal, Intrepid Hero, Premeninet Captain, Oblivion Ring, Mobilization, Prison Term, Oblation, Door of Destinies, Deathrender, Sword of the Paruns, Loxodon Gatekeeper, Benalish Commander, Daru Warchief, Rhox Pikemaster, Enlistment Officer, Kithkin Rabble, Taj-Nar Swordsmith, Armored Asension, Ajani Goldmane, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Resurrection, Catapult Master, Cloudgoat Ranger, Conqueror's Pledge, Captain of the Watch, Crovax, Ascendant Hero, Knight-Captain of Eos, WindbrisK Raptor, Mass Calcify, Martial Coup,
Lands : Emeria, the Sky Ruin, Daru Encampment, Forbidding Watchtower, 36 PLAINS.

Your turn now - if you play EDH or know the older Magic cards, help us out and drop some suggestions in the comments. We will develop a video sometime hopefully before the official Worldwake previews / spoilers get under way to showcase some of the potential improvements.
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15 comments:

Mick said...

try 'eight and a half tails' really good at protecting dudes. You should also play gauntlet of power, and extraplanar lens. and for lots of tokens Storm herd is sooo sick in edh. decree of justice is good. lightning greaves, sword of fire/ice and sword of light/shadow. That's all I can think of now really. I guess you could play beacon of immortality. Iona shield of emeria too I geuss.

casualmagic said...

Good luck. My deck building skills don't really extend into EDH. Maybe when I'm a bit more magic wise I can deck build in this format.

Dennishonderd@hotmail.com said...

kinda depends on the way you play, but you could add, Divine Sacrament ,Glorious Anthem or crusade, they all work like honor of the pure(white creature`s get +1 +1) but dont have the same name.:D

lebenski said...

I've been playing EDH for about a year now and the most important lesson I picked up along the way is that the curve is completely irrelevant. With 100 cards the variance in draws is just too great, coupled with the fact that most games are multiplayer and you start on 40 life cards like Elite Vanguard, Kazandu Blademaster, Kor Aeronaughts etc do nothing. This isn't to say aggro is dead in EDH. I recently put together a nice Rhys the Redeemed token deck which is very fun to play. In general look for cards with big impact or reusable effects, and of course tutors are great. I would suggest the following cards for your deck: Akroma, Idyllic Tutor, Luminarch Ascension, Path to Exile, Story Circle, Weathered Wayfarer, Eight and a half tails, Felidar Sovereign, Archon of Justice, Hallowed Burial (bottom of library effects are strong as players can't elect to put their general back into the command zone with these effects), Reveillark, Mirror Entity. This is the first time I've commented on your blog, but always enjoy your spoilers etc. I'll be checking back soon to see how your deck progresses, good luck!

Anonymous said...

2 words
Relentless Rats

DOLZero said...

I would go with a General that allows you to tutor or re-use cards from your graveyard. Captain Sisay is one of the better ones that runs white, and you can run splash some green goodness in with that.

Mick said...

Silly anonymous. Check gatherer rulings, you can only run 1 relentless rats per deck in EDH.

Anonymous said...

this thread here has a lot of decks and I think most possible generals.

http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=152979

Anonymous said...

Skullclamp, 'nuff said.

Mark Ian said...

Great post and info on EDH. I do hope though that our community will hold an EDH tournament one of these days. Need to make use of those old cards.

Chad said...

AUSTERE COMMAND! MUST HAVE IN MONO WHITE EDH!

Anonymous said...

Some good cards mentioned in previous comments and these are some cards that go well in any white deck Crib Swap, Light From Within, Condemn and Unmake and whilst not a soldier Celestial Crusader is always worth including. I'd also play at least a couple of cards that can deal with enchantments or artifacts such as Disenchant and Ray of Distortion and maybe Faith's Fetters which can shut most things down.

Theo Penning said...

Question- Am I correct in assuming that Phage would be the worst possible general of all time? Also, I began playing EDH two days ago... With Rhys the Redeemed as the general.

Matt said...

Wrath of God, Day of Judgement

MTGJunkie said...

I love EDH it has quickly became one of my favorite ways to play Magic the Gathering. It is fun to play multiplayer and with your friends. I suggest using a commander that has more colors that way you have better ways to deal with your opponents. For some Strategies, Commander Ideas, and rule help check out my website http://mtgjunkie.com