Choosing a Commander
EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander) is one of the most complicated formats in Magic the Gathering. Therefore, it's important to ensure that you are focusing on aspects that matter the most in order for you and others (as it is a multiplayer format) to have a good game play experience. There are a number of aspects to focus on such as the amount of lands your deck should contain and how much card draw or removal you actually need. The most important factor in the end is choosing the commander that will shape the deck and your play experience, that you would like to achieve. After all, the commander tells others what kind of game play they can expect from you along with what cards should be placed into your 99.
What's your meta? Would you like to be the tenth person in your playgroup to use the same commander or would you like to try something that no one has ever seen? Both have their merits, as playing with a popular commander gives you a lot of options and advice from others on how you can improve your deck and put your own personality into it. Choosing one that no one has seen can give you the advantage where no one really knows what your strategy is for winning, but will also make it harder for you to gain advice from others as they're not familiar with it. Does your playgroup use lots of removal or board wipes? Maybe consider a commander where the deck is not fragile (dependence on a combo or the commander) where once a card is removed you can't win. If you are starting off and can't decide which one you'd prefer, consider purchasing a pre-constructed commander deck (pre-con). These normally come with 3 interchangeable commanders which allow you to see which you enjoy using and can make improvements with based around your style of play.
Which color is best for you? Each color has their strengths and weaknesses along with how many colors you want use. Green is a great color for beginners, as it contains the most mana ramp and can drop large creatures that are hard to deal with but lower amount of creature removal. Blue has the most counterspells but it can be hard to decide when to use these spells or when to keep your lands untapped for them. Deciding on a color(s) lets you narrow down the commander options to choose from, as currently there are over 900 legendary creatures that can be used. If you choose at least the colors blue and red ,the list goes from over 900 down to 78 (at the time this was published). From here you can decide whether you want to stay in these two colors or add in extra colors to try out. If you're weak in a particular color you can add that to the others that you're strong with, in order to try it out and see if it fits your style of play. Playing the combination white and black can change the direction and play experience if you add a third color, as it opens you up to more spells. If you are a beginner we don't suggest going into more than three colors as learning to fix your colors or tapping in a certain way takes time to learn. Pick a theme EDH is known for having commanders that try to push you into certain themes in order to benefit from the creatures' ability. Zombies are one of the most popular tribes played in EDH and are in all the colors except that green only has 2 zombie creatures. Therefore, choosing to play [God-Eternal Rhonas] as your commander and going into Zombie Tribal is not advised especially when your commander is one of the two creatures that are zombies. However, black has the most zombie creatures and choosing black as a color that you want to include for the commander would be a great choice. Themes make a huge impact in deciding which commander you want to play with and also which colors support that theme. Card draw themes are popular and blue is the strongest for this therefore a commander that contains blue is a great choice. White and red are the weakest in this field which is why so many players complain about how this combination (Boros) is the weakest of all the color pairs. A commander that fits the theme you have decided to play helps your deck a great deal especially since the commander is a resource that you can access at any time and is repeatable. Budget constraints Having an unlimited budget would be wonderful for supporting this hobby but the reality is for the majority of us this is not the case. Having a budget limits us to certain commanders as prices for cards vary greatly since legendary creatures are not created equally. Your commander is the most important part of the deck. After all, we are building a deck around the commander and what it can do. A budget of $120 is great for a decent cost deck but would it be wise to spend a third of that amount on just the commander? As we've mentioned a number of times before in our podcast, it is better to spend $4 on 10 cards to improve your deck than spending $40 on one card even if it is your commander until you can raise your budget for the deck. As well, the pricier cards tend to be harder to find as they might be used in other formats, on the reserve list or just so popular that stores can't keep them in stock. Another thing to consider is whether you really will enjoy the deck that you have built. Spending $40 on the commander only to find that it doesn't work well and there is another commander that works better is not a great feeling. Going into 4-5 colors is also expensive as cards that fix your mana quickly or effectively tend to be more expensive than if you were to go into 3 or less colors. Mono-color decks tend to be the cheapest overall and easier for beginners but don't be fooled into thinking that you can't make a very good and expensive deck out of them. I hope this helps you to more easily find a commander and keeps you focused on what you want to accomplish. Please leave a comment below telling us the steps you go through for finding a commander. Thanks for reading and take care!