27, Sep, 21

More Than Four Players In A Commander Game Is Hellish

Commander doesn't have to be a slog, but having too many players isn't helping.
Article at a Glance

Commander is one of the few official MTG formats that’s designed to be multiplayer. We’re talking about more than two people, of course. In fact, you can basically have Commander games be as large as you like, and that’s nice and all, but it’s not always fun.

In fact, we’re firm believers in the idea that, generally speaking, there can absolutely be too many players in a game of Commander. It’s up to you what you and your group decide, but there’s definitely a limit to our patience, and that’s why we think four is the ideal number of players in Commander.

Four is the magic number

Let us explain, then you can get annoyed at us if you want to, but at least we’ll have said out bit. A two-player game can be a lot of fun, but it’s generally far better suited to competitive EDH, which isn’t for everyone. Three players is fun, for sure, but it makes it hard to properly play the more political meta-game of Commander, especially as you often end up feeling as though you’re just bullying a player.

Four, on the other hand, is basically perfect. For starters, you can see everything that’s going on. Not only that, but if two people start conspiring, you can try and draw in the other player to make sure you end up in a weird version of two-headed giant.

It’s also a good number of people to make sure that there are nearly always enough answers around for any truly problematic decks, and it means that people have to justify any time they take out a player, or any attacks they make, so it feels like you can’t just whale on people.

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Why not more?

So, four sounds good, but what’s the problem of going beyond that?

Well, five players leads to similar problems to four players, and the same is true of basically any odd number. However, once you get past four people you end up really racking up the time in-between turns for each player. It makes each match drawn out, which is a problem with Commander anyway, so it can be hard to really enjoy it.

Six players doesn’t remedy that issue, nor does any number above that. Hence, we think that four players is the perfect number for any Commander game. However, things change a bit if you’re playing any of the peculiar variants of Commander.

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The more the merrier

There are lots of fan-made variants of Commander that actually require more than four people, and those are the only real times that it’s fun, in our opinion. One such game is Kingdoms, a game where five players are given different roles. One is the king, one is a knight, one is an assassin, one is the usurper, and two are bandits. Only the king reveals their role and they begin the game by going first, and they have fifty life.

Everyone else has a different job. The knight has to protect the king, and they win if they and the king are the last ones standing. The bandits have to kill the king, as long as the king dies, the bandits win. The assassin can only win if literally everyone else has died. The usurper’s goal isn’t to win, not as such, but to deal the killing blow to the king. If they manage this, they swap roles with the king, and they have their life total set to fifty, while the king gets put onto one life. Everything then switches, with the knight having to protect the new king and so on, with the old king now becoming the usurper.

There are plenty of other fan-made games too, and we definitely recommend checking out this cool article on CardMarket about it all, but for us, these are the only times when going beyond four players is any fun, and therefore the only time it’s worth doing.

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