Interview mit Sheldon Menery

In zwei Wochen werden die Commander Decks veröffentlicht, nächste Woche gibt es die offiziellen Previews dazu. Also dachte ich mir, wieso nicht Sheldon Menery bitten, ein paar Fragen zu beantworten. Sheldon Menery?

Er ist einer der höchsten Judges auf Level 5, hat das Format Commander (seinerzeit noch unter dem Namen EDH) mit populär gemacht und gehört dem Commander Rules Commitee an. Ansonsten hat er in den letzten zehn Jahren so etwa 2-3 Artikel auf geschrieben. Er war so nett ein paar Fragen per E-Mail zu beantworten, hier sind die Antworten (auf englisch):

Hi Sheldon,

thank you for finding the time to answer a few questions for the readers of!

Ormus: EDH, now known as Commander, is still a rarely seen format in Germany, you will find more players having their Highlander decks with them. The major differences between those formats are probably the commander, the resulting color restrictions and commander damage. What do these elements add to the game? Why should a Highlander player give Commander a try?

Sheldon:  The color restrictions make building a deck more difficult.  It forces you to have a sharper focus, and operating with a set of restraints simply makes it more challenging—a challenge that people who love deckbuilding enjoy.  Having the commander opens up new strategic possibilities, especially when you can recast him.  Highlander players will find everything they love about the 100-card decks and more when they move into MTG: Commander.

Ormus: So, the commander card itself is an important part of the every Commander deck. Which legend do you enjoy most as your commander?  If you had to recommend an unusual commander, which would that be?

Sheldon:  I love playing Kresh because I love getting him into the Red Zone.  That said, I’m a big fan of seeing people build decks from off-the-beaten path Commanders, like Sol’Kanar, Swamp King.

Ormus: Have you seen the lists of new pre-constructed Commander Decks yet? Which would you pick if you had to choose a single one (even without knowing the lists)?

Sheldon: Yes, I’ve already seen the cards and the lists.  I’m a fan of the Karador wedge (WBG), so that’s the one I’d probably pick.

Ormus: What are the main tasks of the Rules Committee and it’s members? Did you ever really disagree on a topic?

Sheldon:  The main task is to keep the format healthy by reviewing (quarterly) the Banned List to see if there’s anything warping the format.  We talk together at least once a month on all the issues facing the format.

Like any group of six people, we occasionally disagree.  We agree on the *vision* of the format, we just sometimes disagree on the best way to implement that vision.  If we disagree on a particular point, or whether a card should be banned or unbanned, we have healthy, respectful discussion, and then come to a democratic solution.

Ormus: As a level 5 judge traveling the world you probably know quite a few of the judges. So the judges know „all“ the rules, but: Are judges actually really good or rather average players? I’m sure you can be honest as long as you don’t drop any names (feel free to give us some names though!) 😉

Sheldon:  Let’s first agree that a judge is someone who identifies as a judge first, player second.  There are any number of players who also do some judging (LSV is a great example).  I’ve repeatedly said that the average judge is a better player than the average non-judge.  That’s not saying that the average judge is better than the average PT player, just on the whole, judges know the game better than anyone else and it comes through as players.  There are many judges who excellent players.  L3 Christian Gawrilowicz recently qualified for Nagoya.

Ormus: Which is your favorite Block in Magic History and who is your favorite Magic artist?

Sheldon:  Invasion still remains my favorite of all the blocks, even after all these years.  The real exploration of multicolored cards, shards, and wedges started there.

I’ve met and had the pleasure of spending time with many of the artists, and most of them have been great to hang around with.  I particularly enjoyed spending time with Rob Alexander.  As for whose art I like best, it’s probably a tie between Rob (whose landscapes are breathtaking) and Terese Nielsen (who has a remarkable appreciation for the female form and world-class skill at translating it).

Ormus: Is there a Magic card on your „Want“ list for a long time already that you just can’t seem to find?

Sheldon:  I have access to pretty much everything I could need, but yes, for some reason I’ve had trouble finding foil Skyshroud Claims.

Ormus: A few quick questions:

[X] I love foils.  Nearly all my decks are completely foiled out (as much as they can be, anyway—cards that aren’t available in foil sometimes don’t make the cut for a deck).
[ ] I don’t care for foils.

[ ] 1 on 1 Commander
[X] Multiplayer Commander  I realize that 1v1 exists, but this is a multiplayer format.

[X] Standard I love the ever-changing nature of Standard
[ ] Extended
[ ] Draft

[X] Baseball:  Although I love both American football and World football, baseball is very near and dear to my heart.
[ ] Football
[ ] Soccer

[X] Raiders of the Lost Ark:  Originals ftw.
[ ] Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
[ ] Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Ormus: You’ve announced to go Emeritus this year, does this affect your involvement into the Commander community?

Sheldon:  It will give me more time to dedicate to the format, which is one of the reasons I made the decision.  Being L5 is tremendously rewarding—leading 2,000 of the best friends you’d ever want to have is an amazing experience.  It’s also time-consuming, and there are new worlds to conquer, the Commander format being one of the things I’m going to spend a little more time on.

Ormus: Ok, no more questions on my list. Thanks for answering all this! Any last words or hints for all those players that will play Commander for the first time at the Launch Events in about two weeks?

Sheldon:  Have fun and Embrace the Chaos!!!

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