Competitive EDH. Oxymoron? EDH (or Commander) is intended to be a casual format designed for multiplayer and involves beer, pizza, and big-spell kitchen table shenanigans. Competitive Magic is just that, participants create and play decks full of cutthroat combinations to ensure their survival in a sea of Spikes with prizes hanging in the balance. What does happen if you cross the two? Will it result in “all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light” as projected when crossing the streams in Ghostbusters? Or can it lead to something more than that?
In central Illinois, some friendly “razzing” has escalated into an outright challenge between gaming stores. An epic event looms in the future, reminiscent and ill-compared to the movie “You Got Served”. Gaming Stores will be preparing for war pitting their best four EDH Players against each other in an all out battle being referred to as the Commander War on 74. The “War on 74” derives it’s name from the main two cities involved, Peoria and Champaign, which are both located on Interstate 74.
What does this article series and coverage of the War on 74 hold for you, the MTGCasualPlay.com reader? My full intentions is to bring March Madness your way that will involve championship caliber 1v1 decklists, commentary, and (crossing my fingers) maybe even some video content. So please, check back frequently.
While the details are still cloudy on the soon-to-be annual event scheduled to take place in the month of March, the preparation has already begun. The event will be using the Duel Commander 1v1 Rules. None of the stores involved have ever used the Duel Commander rules, choosing to stick to the banlist and rules set forth by the Sheldon Menery and the EDH Rules Committee (MTGCommander.net). Needless to say, the announcement of using the Duel List has created a local trade frenzy for pieces such as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Metalworker, Sundering Titan, Primeval Titan among other cards currently on the EDH banlist. All stores involved are holding tryouts and building their team through small tournaments to elect their knights of the four-square table.
Local Game Stores (LGS)
Peoria’s Just for Fun can attribute it’s success in the Magic community to Dan Crawford, a Magic enthusiast and part time employee at the shop. Dan ensures that the Peoria area has a place to tap their mana by running most of the store’s MTG Events. Dan is well well known and respected in the Peoria area and his contributions to the game have even lead to his own following on Facebook, the Dan Crawford Fanboy Club.
The new kid on the block is Champaign’s The Gaming Goat established in 2013. The Gaming Goat has provided the local Magic community with an elaborate prize pool and several nights of MTG gaming. Joshua Sawlaw, who has played quite a bit of Magic in Peoria, has done an impressive job at promoting The Gaming Goat through Facebook. Josh has spiced up the rivalry by adding a bit of trash-talk and already referring to the Peoria team as “JiFFs” (pun on the Just for Fun initals, JFF).
First Team Members – Local Winners
The Gaming Goat
The Gaming Goat held it’s first qualifier on Thursday night, December 19th. FYI. Taking the first seat at the Goat table will be winner Ramsey McGraw. Ramsey etched out his spot on the team with his Maelstrom Wanderer Cacade Massacre EDH Deck.
Just for Fun
Just for Fun held it’s first qualifier on Wednesday night, December 18th with 20 combatants. After four rounds of play, the night ended with a 1v1 matchup pitting two good friends against each other: Trent Kouri and his Zur the Enchanter deck versus Sam Litten’s Omnath, Locus of Mana.
In the final moments of the match, Trent closed in on his victory having Zur online with his two good friends Spellskite and Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. Oh, and not to mention a Bitterblossom/Contamination lock so that all lands could only pump out bubbly black mana. While Trent only had one card left in hand, Sam put together a last ditch effort by casting All is Dust to try to break the pretzel-lock his Omanth deck was in. In response, however, Trent activated his Tel-Jilad Stylus to put Contamination on the bottom of his library, allowing his Island to tap for blue and cast Negate targeting Sam’s All is Dust.
So Trent Kouri brings Zur the Enchanter to Team JFF and becomes the first member of the four person team. Trent was kind enough to answer a few questions for MTGCasualPlay.com, so I have included them here in this article: