Dear Squee Vol. 5

Our favorite Audio Engineer Squee McGee answers the Collective’s most burning questions!!

Dear Squee,

Dear Squee,

I have been playing MTG for the better part of 15 years now, EDH for I think 6?  When I first got into EDH, I had no idea how to build a solid deck. No ramp, no rocks, no real idea how the decks would win.  

Cut to now and I feel I have a pretty firm grasp on how to build a solid deck.  Most of the people I play against are no match for my decks, no matter how I tried to tone down new decks. I have always agreed with not trying to power down an existing deck you enjoy playing. However, I have recently discovered my decks are not quite as awesome as I had once thought. It bums me out to see all that hard work, pride and joy just be, squashed in every game. 

I don’t have access to expensive/powerful cards, but would like to at least stand a chance. I refuse to play stax (besides the budget reason) because I would prefer everyone at the table get to play Magic. My question I guess is how can I step up my game without breaking the bank? I have always prided myself in being casually competitive, and I feel like those days are gone. 

Thanks for reading 🙂

-James See (@Baynne720)

Dear Mr. See, 

EDH has taken what used to be a 7 in power level and shifted its equivalent to a 5. 

No joke… 

There are a few things that are driving this, but the biggest factor is the format’s popularity.  In the past players were not willing to pay an exorbitant fee to play a casual format.  Fast forward to 2020 and I would argue players put more money into EDH than almost any other format.  Sure you’ll see ridiculously priced Legacy and Vintage decks, but I guarantee most of those players don’t carry around 50+ high priced decks(*Cough Cough* Mr. Combo and Big Tuck).  

On Big Tuck’s Scale of “1 to Greasy” EDH is a Slip n’ Slide these days….

An Interesting Trend:

I have noticed something odd over the last year and I think it will help you understand how to win more games with minimal changes.  

THE MOST POWERFUL DECK LOSES MORE OFTEN THAN IT WINS.

  1. Players at the table are much more knowledgeable about combo pieces, strategies, and overpowered staples than they were a few years ago. 
  2. Removal is on the rise. Not just the use of counterspells in the format… but artifacts, enchantments, graveyards, and hell…. counters themselves. 
  3. I would like to add the role of “Whistleblower” to the EDH community – the player that makes friends at the table by calling out upcoming danger.

Sit Tight. Then… Get Up and Fight:

The oldest trick in “The Book of Squee” is Sitting Tight.  We Know This. But it’s time for a comeback.  At risk of using two numbered lists in one article, I am going to detail the most effective tips for Sitting Tight.  This is the most budget friendly way to change how often you win games.  It’s a psyche, not a strategy.  

  1. Start Modestly – I have often held out until turn 2 or 3 with a Sol Ring in hand just to get the ever moving target off my head. The same goes for early commander plays(Rhys aside, that is hard to avoid).  Insert my favorite line to buy you a few turns…

    “Man I’m just not hitting what I need early”
  2. Assess the board and employ targeted removal in your deck.  There are common and uncommon removal spells across the color pie.  I do not support making deals early in games, but I do support doing the board a solid by removing an early threat.  It builds credibility and buys you a few turns sans hate. 
  3. When asked questions about your hand, intentions, and boardstate… Speak as though you are under federal investigation.  

“Hey Squee, are you gonna swing out at me with all of those tokens next turn?”

No…” but I will swing with half of them and an Overwhelming Stampede[/c[]!

  1. Strike while the iron is hot.  If you come to a point late in the game where you think you can take out all but 1 player… DO IT. ALWAYS.  That player 9 out of 10 times is not equipped to last long without the help of others
  2. As an extension of #3, players will often fish for information late-game in order to declare themselves the winner.  If someone asks an If/Then statement about their actions to declare victory, DON’T ANSWER AND MAKE THEM PLAY IT OUT.

If I am able to mill everyone this turn, can anyone do anything, or do I win?

Too often people say they have a counter, a tutor, or removal as an answer…
Without fail if you reveal an answer, they will change their strategy.  

You always want to surprise your opponent with your response. 

Amazing question, and I hope this helps you in your journey!

Love,

Squee

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