Im sure this topic has been discussed at length in the past but having been in a brewing rut for some time I wanted to get some other opinions.
TLDR: How much do you use online tools like EDHRec to build your decks and does this cut down on the brewing fun/ digging for obscure cards?
With the EDH format being one of if not the most common way to play Magic, we are now surrounded by a myriad of resources (like EDHRec, Scryfall, numerous Youtube channels ect) that didn't exist when building my first EDH deck.
Recently I have noticed that my deck building has been stagnant and think that a large part of this is that I've been using tools like EDHRec too often. With the tools being as good and useful as they are you find a commander, find what EDHRec says is the average deck then build that which is dull and makes me not want to build it at all. Half of the fun of the format is digging through the decklist database threads/similar and gatherer to find the obscure commons and uncommons that fit your commander perfectly. I challenged myself to do this earlier today and havent had so much fun making a deck for some time.
So I want to hear your opinions, how much use of these tools do you use? Does it affect your brewing fun or does it cut down on your decision paralysis?
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
EDH BRGKresh the BloodbraidedBRG, A box of lands and ideas.
Modern: RG Titanshift. A deck made of cards too stupid for EDH.
Retired: Lots. More than I feel you should suffer through or I should type out.
I believe I used EDHRec for only one or two decks. Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons (I think) and maybe something else. I don't tend to use those tools because, to be frank, I don't care too much about what other people use or what is popular. I used it for Hapatra since she has a somethat narrow effect so I wanted to see if I missed anything obvious. Interestingly, any deck I did use EDHRec for is no longer put together.
Overall, I prefer to build my decks without looking at other's lists. I generally put together a list and then tweak it over the course of a number of games. If I get far enough where I like the deck enough to make a thread on it, I often entertain suggestions of others if they fit with what I am trying to do. I would rather include a card based on a spirited discussion about *why* to include it rather than just seeing 50% of people include it in their lists.
Not to say there is anything bad about these tools. Magic has a deep card pool and it is impossible to know every single card that could work in a deck even with doing a number of searches on Gatherer or Scryfall. It is just that I prefer my decks to be my own so I tend to get the bulk of them built and then alter them based on suggestions of the community or my own play experiences.
My general build-process looks something like this:
1. Decide on deck concept/commander: For example, let's say I decided to build a dino-tribal deck with Gishath as the commander.
2. Find cards for the theme using gatherer: Using the previous example, this is where I'd look on gatherer for all dino cards ever printed, and pick the ones I like for the deck.
3. Include the staples that I'm aware of: Using the previous example again, this is where I throw the green ramp staples, sol ring, blasphemous act and some generic tribal support cards in the deck.
4. build a mana-base
5. Check EDHrec for stuff I missed: At this point in the process I generally have 2-6 card slots left open. I haven't played magic for that long, so i don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the cards, so having a resource like EDHrec to check my deck with and see if there's anything really useful I missed is very helpful. In this dino deck example, EDHrec helped me find congregation at dawn, a card that works really well with Gishath and that i didn't know existed.
so tl;dr I use online resources, but generally only during the final steps of my deck creation process to help with filling the last couple of slots with stuff I like, but didn't know existed.
I go to EDHREC to see if there's an interesting commander that I haven't test yet, and because they have connection to other EDH sites I use it as a hub to connect with other articles (mainly videos). After I finish a deck, I look at EDHREC for other themes just in case I might've missed out sone fun choices.
I also use MtGGoldfish and GatheringMagic to read their articles. Sometimes I transform one of their wacky ideas into an EDH.