Staying Connected with the Commander Community

Hallie SantoCommander

Ikoria’s “Commander Weekend” has been a huge treat for fans of the format. Commander players can’t wait to get their hands on Commander 2020 cards so they can retool their decks and build new ones. But as social distancing measures continue throughout the world, these players will have to wait another month to try these new cards, let alone gather in-person for games.

While new organized play programs have sprung up to support the competitive Magic community, Commander players may be wondering how they can stay connected to their favorite hobby. We talked to a few Commander community members about how they’re staying engaged with the game during this unprecedented time.

Tabletop Play

You may not be able to host a Commander night at your house these days, but you can still play the game from the comfort of your home. Cosplayer and streamer Olivia Gobert-Hicks has been gathering friends around her virtual table for almost a year now and streaming the action on her Twitch channel, Affinity Artifacts. On each stream, she invites three friends to battle via webcam; if you’ve ever wanted to watch the Commander Rules Committee throw down, check out this episode.

Olivia also helped our friends at LoadingReadyRun host a special social distancing edition of the Friday Night Paper Fight:

Olivia’s fellow CAG member Shivam Bhatt is also a fan of webcam Commander games and is working on putting together his own set-up. “Paper Magic isn’t dead in the time of quarantine, but it is morphing into a new expression,” he says. “That means taking cards out that directly interact with opponents’ boards and hands. No Gontis or counters on cards…and making sure that anything you do can easily be displayed on my own side of the screen.”

If you want to learn more about how to play Magic via webcam, check out our video tutorial:

MTGO and MTG Arena

While there’s nothing like playing with paper Magic cards, some Commander players are turning to Magic’s digital clients to get some games in.

Magic Online has supported 1v1 Commander games for years, and it can provide great opportunities to test new decks against a gamut of opponents. Shivam says he’s been entering the one-ticket and ten-ticket queues, experimenting with new decks that he’s wanted to build before he purchases physical cards.

Shivam also says that MTG Arena’s Brawl format has been “a godsend” for him. Fans of this Commander variant can enter the Brawler’s Guildhall any day of the week or battle friends via Direct Challenges. The Brawler’s Guildhall will remain open to challengers through at least May 21st.

If you’re looking for some Brawl inspiration, several creators have been streaming the format, including our friend TappyToeClaws. She’s been trying to stream on her Twitch channel every day while her state-mandated stay-at-home order is in place.

Learn more about Tappy in the latest episode of our weekly talk show, Magic is Gathering!

Connect via Discord

Tappy and Olivia have both been working to foster community among Commander players via Discord. The communication platform is becoming increasingly popular in the Magic community, especially among creators and their fans. Users can connect on private servers via text, voice, and video chat to share content, host discussions, or even get some games in.

You can join Discord here to create an account and set up a community server. Once you’re up and running, we recommend looking up some of your favorite creators and seeing if they have servers of their own.

Build and Update Decks

Finally, if you have some free time on your hands, now is a great time to generate some new Commander deck ideas. You can rebuild an old deck you’d taken apart, or sort through your collection until inspiration strikes.

Olivia says she has a few new decks in the works: “Right now I’m working on a Breya Enchantress deck and a Syr Gwyn Knight Tribal deck, and getting ready to revamp my Reyhan/Ravos Abzan Counters deck with some of the new Ikoria cards!”

Ikoria and Commander 2020 release in North America on May 15th, and Card Kingdom’s presale is underway! Stay tuned for more Commander content on the CK Blog!