How are we to become master cEDH players if we don't know exactly what a master cEDH player consists of? What does it have to do with our understanding of cEDH Multiplayer and building cEDH Multiplayer decks?
Well all of those answers will be answered in this course. One of my favorite quotes is "At the precipice we change." right here I'm fixing to outline what makes the master cEDH player and after that you'll see just what it takes.
You must know that to be a master of cEDH Multiplayer that it requires knowing the rules of MTG. You need to know: Basic Rules, Comprehensive Rules, Rules of Commander, and Individual Card Rules. The greater your understanding of MTG, and the rules the better. Its a lot of reading, and you should definitely start immediately. Print out Basic MTG Rules, the Comprehensive Rules, and the Rules of Commander. Next you should also look up the Tier 1 Commanders of cEDH, and create a list of EDH staples and cards played in EDH then print out all the individual card rulings to each card. This altogether creates one giant rule book you need to master. Make it apart of your routine to read these rules daily. This is incredibly important to win the game, play your deck right, and also not make any mistakes. If you already believe you have a great understanding of rules then you can skip this step.
Mental Preparedness, Decisions, and Mistakes
You need to be prepared for your games mentally and physically. Just like regular professional MTG tournaments the same rules apply here. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy meal, be on time, and practice. Think of it just like a chess championship tournament, which the goal is to be the champion. Unlike all other non-multiplayer formats in MTG cEDH Multiplayer has a very high risk rate and is extremely unforgiving should you make any mistakes. Because there is more opponents, more cards, and more threats than non-multiplayer formats your mistakes are tenfold. For example say if you have 3 opponents, and they each play 2 threats each, then you will have 6 threats total, that means you're 6x more likely to lose and die should you make a "game losing" mistake. On your journey to becoming a master of cEDH Multiplayer you will learn that making mistakes will cost you a game. Even just one mistake will cost you a game, and you'll quickly learn that cEDH Multiplayer almost requires flawless play to do well or be at the top. It's not a bad thing, but it's just part of the game. With that in mind, you need to realize you'll devote more time to thinking out your moves, thinking ahead, and also planning. You'll also need to exercise extreme patience during cEDH Multiplayer games, because of more players, and the additional turns you must wait through, each opponent will have to go through his turn. The wait time is increased tenfold because there are more players. You also must be careful not to make quick plays, and fast decisions just to "save time" as I mentioned earlier a single mistake is deadly in this format. You need to spend time thinking out your moves, and in general when practicing with your deck you should "Goldfish" your plays, and imagine that you have multiple opponents as well. When you've reached the point where you rarely make mistakes, rarely ever make a poor decision, win games, and experience a high win rate.
Understands cEDH Multiplayer Strategy
What could be more important than to understand how, why, when you lose and win at cEDH Multiplayer. Not having a fully complete understanding of cEDH Multiplayer Strategy contributes to deck building errors, game losses, lower win rate percentages, and overall hurts your ability to win at the game. You need to know how to win, why you win, and why you lose too. Plus you need to understand threat assessment, and politics as well these things are a part of the cEDH Multiplayer game as well. Knowing the strategy that revolves around Competitive Multiplayer EDH is an extremely important part of mastering cEDH Multiplayer.
Makes His Own Decks
You need to know how to build your own cEDH decks that are competitively viable and worthy of winning tournaments and cEDH Multiplayer games. Know what makes a good list, be able to spot powerful commanders, build around them, and figure out the best win conditions. You need to know what kinds of cards to add to it, what makes them good, how to build around a commander or win condition. You need to be able to spot your deck building mistakes, the flaws, and fix them. This is another important requirement to become a master deck builder and master the art of deck building. There is this opinion that there is no best possible decklist for any given commander that is far from the truth in cEDH Multiplayer. The truth is that if you had the best possible decklist then you would win the most games compared to any other list with the same Commander, Strategy or Win Condition. You don't have to be a certified genius to realize that means you have the best possible decklist. If you're a master deckbuilder you can make the best possible decklist for any given Commander, Strategy, Combo, or Win Condition. Of course this is hard work to accomplish the best possible decklist but it is completely possible.
Innovate Competitive Multiplayer Decks
You need to be able to spot combos, win conditions, staples, powerful commanders, and also be able to build with them. Of course it is time intensive but it's part of the game. Otherwise you'll always be copying someone else's idea. Finally you'll be spending a lot of time on gatherer.wizards.com or magiccards.info/ looking up cards, and adding them to your decks. You'll also be browsing forums, looking through deck lists, and looking up the latest sets. It helps to soak up as much ideas as possible to try to create something new and different.
Knows How to Test His Deck and Fix it
The old saying is perfect practices makes perfect. Perfect testing/tuning makes perfect results and there are many ways to test your deck. You also need to be able to understand the results of your testing, and make changes. You'll be testing out win conditions, you'll be gold fishing your deck alone for consistency, you'll be checking to see if the deck works like you want, you'll be testing it out against proven deck lists that are already top tier, and you'll record your results. Finally you'll bear fruit with your testing and improve your deck by fixing it. After fixing and making adjustment you'll go right back to testing it again. You may even discover after much testing the commander or win condition wasn't as good as you thought, and that you need to move on. Choose a new commander, and win condition then start all over. Of course if you're testing is wrong and you don't understand your results then you also will not go anywhere.
Knows How to Practice
Just like with testing your deck, practicing with it and correctly is important too. You'll need to know what makes perfect practice. If you spend all of your time gold fishing (solitaire) and never playing with live opponents then you'll never know how your deck fairs against actual opponents in a real game. If you play against regular EDH players then you'll also never know how your deck does against Competitive EDH players and top tier decks. So without perfect practice you won't have a perfect deck nor be a master cEDH player.
Knows How To Improve and Understands Results
Once you know how to test, practice, and understand the results of your work then you can improve your deck, your strategy, and your game. In fact you might even discover something entirely better, or even a better commander. With that in mind, you'll be able to improve your overall win rate. You'll start to win more games, your deck will get better, your strategy will get better, your entire game will improve, or you'll find yourself saying "This deck just isn't as good as thought it was" and start all over. You'll also make your deck faster, improve consistency, improve resiliency, and overall make your deck better. You're figuring out the flaws of your commander, your deck, and your strategy.
Understands The Math of cEDH Multiplayer
Yes, how can you win at cEDH Multiplayer when you don't understand that to kill 3 opponents you need a win condition or combo that kills exactly 3 opponents. If it only kills 2 opponents then you'll still lose. If it only kills one at a time, there's a chance you might also still lose. If you don't understand the math behind the game then there's a great chance you're losing a lot of games you could probably be winning if you at least understood the math. If you don't understand that you can kill 3 birds with one rock then you'll always kill one bird with one rock and never realize. This is another crucial and important part to becoming a Master of cEDH Multiplayer. You might come to realize that a fair number of cEDH players already have somewhat decent understanding of cEDH Multiplayer Math enough to make very good combo decks, but then there's some parts where it starts to get foggy.
Can Interpret the Metagame
If your metagame has tons of combo decks, combo commanders, and they're mostly fast combo. And you're playing a Commander deck that draws cards and plays counterspells and keep losing. It's because you haven't learned that stax does best against fast combo decks. Otherwise you also can't play a combo deck and win consistently against a lot of other fast combo decks. But unless you come up with a combo deck that is a turn faster than all the other combo decks then of course you can. So if you can't meta-game and build your deck to play in the metagame then you're also going to lose. You also need to know what all the other decks in the metagame are in order to be sure you have the best commander or deck in the metagame too. We must know our enemy to defeat our enemy.
You need to be able to play your perfect deck perfectly and play a perfect game. Does that sentence make sense? Well it should, because once you have a well tuned deck down that is winning lots of games it is because you are playing well and correctly. You're playing your game flawlessly, you're not making any mistakes, bad decisions, and you're pulling all the right moves off at the right time. You knew what the threats were, you knew what the problems were, and you had the solutions. You saw the openings, the ways out, and you took them. You took out all of your opponents game after game and you have an amazing win rate. So yes in conclusion to be a master of cEDH Multiplayer you need to play your perfect deck perfectly and play a perfect game.
Its hard work and there is a lot to work on. As you can see there are multiple skills needed, and there are multiple attributes. But is all of this required to be a competitive EDH player? Not at all. This was just to summarize a end goal or to show the final form of a player of cEDH Multiplayer. You don't have to excel at all of these to enjoy playing competitive multiplayer EDH or even being good at it. You can simply just take a top tier deck list, read a premier, practice, test, and play. You'll eventually figure it out and become quickly a competitive player. But you wouldn't be a master if you can't do everything described above.