The Glass Cannon Conundrum

Everyone enjoys playing EDH in their own way, usually building around their commander. Some players love refine their deck to the point where they build for speed over stability. This can be either a massive boon or bane. This is the ‘Glass Cannon Conundrum’.

What is a Glass Cannon?

You heard of the phrase “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”? It’s a similar premise, only that you are building for speed and efficiency over resilience.

This may seem like a huge issue and the type of deck to avoid. That could not be more wrong. Everyone enjoys playing commander their own way and glass cannon decks are just another strategy. They plan to be aggressive and prey upon playgroups who do not interact.

Glass Cannon Pros

Glass Cannon decks focus on one strategy and hone it to the point where there is a huge amount of redundancy. A large amount of tutor spells are found in the deck to help with consistency in finding and setting up their win condition.

This kind of strategy prefers speed above all else. This means an emphasis on low cost spells and fast mana, sometimes cards that can only be utilized once.

Glass Cannon decks prey upon playgroups with a lack of interaction. The less interactive your opponents, the higher chance of running away with the game. Because of this, glass cannons aim for setting up in their first few turns where most players are still setting up their boards. This is where they capitalise on their speed.

With all these benefits do come some downfalls.

Glass Cannon Cons

Taking a mulligan is common for starting the game. Glass Cannon decks specialise in achieving their strategy as fast as possible, so finding the right cards to start with is essential.

Removal hurts a glass cannon more than any other type of strategy as they are built for speed rather than endurance. They usually don’t add redundant cards to the board and focus on obtaining the next piece of their puzzle. Even single target removal can set back a glass cannon deck back turns or even push them out of the game.

Interaction is a common thing glass cannon decks lack. They have a redundancy of spells to push their strategy forward so they usually skip on common forms of removal. They are trying to achieve a win before most players can get into the game.

Most interaction they do play are ways to protect their own cards, whether that be counter spells, hexproof, protection from color, etc.

It is common for glass cannon decks to have a heavy reliance on the commander. Being removed from the field or even being unable to play the commander can stall the deck and leave it wailing about. Commander tax can also be a real hindrance for this reason, so it is best to summon the commander only when you really need it.

But not to fear, there are ways to help support a glass cannon strategy.

Ways to support glass cannon

One way to support this strategy is to include an additional strategy or 2 that can be added to the deck with little hinderance on the main strategy. Thassa’s Oracle and Demonic Consultation are cards that are used as an easy backup combo for glass cannon decks that can support blue and black.

Another way to a support glass cannon decks is to add additional cards to support the commander, so if the commander cannot be played, there are still cards that can be used. This however is not helpful for those players who don’t usually utilise their commander.

An example of this would be Marwyn the Nurturer. For a commander like Marwyn, it should include additional cards that also provide a large amount of mana based on elves.

The last way that you could improve a glass cannon strategy is to add resilience to removal, making it less effective on hindering your game plan. The downside to this is you will start to be sacrificing speed.

Final Thoughts

Glass Cannon decks can be very beneficial for players who love speed and consistency. Even though there are downsides, every strategy has its own ups and downs.

If you like fast and refined gameplay, a glass cannon strategy might be the way you want to go. If you don’t like being blown out from a single removal spell or prefer to interact with your opponents, I would not recommend this kind of strategy.

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