While the normal formats of magic have their own archetypes, when you have a format like Commander/EDH, there’s a lot of variance. Now, I do tend to refer to these archetypes in my Commanding Opinion Articles – but what do they really mean? Well, that’s what this article is going to talk about. I’ll go into each of them more in-depth later, but this article is to just give you a list of them – I’ll link to their own articles when they’re written as well. This is more of a hub than a real article.
For most of these, I’ll be quoting the mtgsalvation wiki, here.
Voltron is a deck archetype with the goal of casting one creature, then using other cards such as Auras and Equipment to enhance that creature and making it a true threat to the opponent. The archetype’s name derives from the Japanese animated series Voltron which features several small robots that combine into one large robot. It’s fairly straightforward.
You can find the article about Voltron Commanders here.
Not much different than it is in regular 60-card magic – your deck is built towards the goal of assembling several cards together to win the game, whether it be through an infinite combo or just enough to make everyone draw out their decks, exile everything ever, or whatever else. These decks also rely on denial of resources, to prevent opponents from beating you before you have the opportunity to combo-out and win.
Control and Stax are actually two different kinds of decks, so I’ll break it down a little further. Control specifically is a deck that simply stays in control of the game as much as possible, denying resources while moving towards a better game state than the other players. Stax on the other hand specifically focuses on denying your opponent resources completely – denying resources, destroying lands, increasing the mana they have to invest in cards, and cause them to have to pay to keep things.
Short for Aggressive, these decks focus on just dealing out a ton of combat damage as fast as possible to beat opponents before they can do a whole lot.
This is less of an archetype and more of a playstyle. Some commanders don’t have a specific strategy to play along with them. These decks just play the best possible cards in their colors, and just have a fun time with those. A lot of the time, even without synergy, “goodstuff” can win matches out of nowhere by just having good stuff in the deck.
Tokens are a very common archetype to see, due to the range of cards that make tokens in all colors. Similar to aggro decks, they rely on getting a game-winning amount of power on board and just swinging out to wipe-out players.
Counters on the other hand rely on single creatures with +1/+1 counters. Some decks like Ghave, Guru of Spores do both tokens and counters, making their tokens more and more threatening.
These are mostly the same thing, but they are a tiny bit different.
Graveplay is less reanimate and more relying on the graveyard. Mechanics like Flashback, Scavenge, and Dredge are entirely reliant on the graveyard.
Reanimate on the other hand relies on cheating large creatures into play with reanimation spells combined with self-mill or discard to get them into the graveyard.
Grouphug is a kind of deck you never see outside of Multiplayer formats. These decks purposely help out your opponents to either dissuade them from attacking you while you combo off, or to simply help people instead of trying to win.
Griefer is the exact opposite of Grouphug – even if you aren’t trying to win, you just make the game miserable for all of your opponents.
These decks aren’t as much of an archetype as much as just following the gimmick that your commander has and building around it. These decks are entirely reliant on their commander, and without them crumble rather quickly.
As I said before, this page is not really for information’s sake, as much as it is a list of the archetypes, where I’ll add the links to as the articles are posted. Along with this one, I’m already going to post the Voltron article.
Until next time,